The Affordable Care Act likely extended the lives of thousands of seniors who took advantage of free screening exams and were diagnosed with treatable, early-stage colo-rectal cancer, a new study suggests. “I think the prevention-related provisions of the Affordable Care Act helped to detect cancer at earlier and more treatable stages and eventually will save lives,” said senior author Nengliang “Aaron” Yao, a health-policy professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville.
Before the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, took effect, people ages 65 and older who were insured under Medicare had to pay $275 for colonoscopies, the report in Health Affairs says. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) directed that colonoscopies be offered for free. From 2011, when the law took effect, until 2013, an additional 8,400 seniors, or 8 percent more than before, were diagnosed with early-stage colo-rectal cancer, researchers estimated.