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[ Lung Cancer Screening As An Insurance Benefit Would Save Lives At A Relatively Low Cost ]

Lung Cancer Screening As An Insurance Benefit Would Save Lives At A Relatively Low Cost

Lung cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer causes more than 150, 000 deaths annually and has a survival rate of 16 percent. More Americans die of lung cancer each year than of cervical, breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Currently, cancer screening - checking people for cancers or pre-cancers before symptoms appear - is widely supported for breast (mammography), colorectal (colonoscopy and other techniques) and cervical (Pap smears) cancers. While regular screening for these cancers is standard practice, lung cancer screening is not. Now, results of a large, randomized, controlled trial conducted by Rush University Medical Center scientist Dr. James L. Mulshine, and co-researchers showed that screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) not only reduces lung cancer deaths but would cost insurers less than colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screenings.

The Majority Of California's Medi-Cal Caregivers Live In Or Near Poverty

The demand for caregivers is growing rapidly as California's population ages, but the majority of state's Medi-Cal caregivers earn poverty or near-poverty wages and have poor access to health care and food, a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has found. Fifty-seven percent of paid Medi-Cal caregivers - and almost half of all 450, 000 paid caregivers in the state - have incomes that leave them in poverty or near poverty, according to the study, "Hidden in Plain Sight: California's Paid Medi-Cal Caregivers Are Vulnerable." Medi-Cal is the state's public health insurance program for low-income seniors or adults with long-term illnesses or disabilities. "Paid caregivers do a lot but get paid very little, " said Geoffrey Hoffman, the study's lead author. "They play a critical and complex role caring for our aging or disabled parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors yet can earn only a little more than minimum wage.

Risky Treatments With Larger Rewards Preferable To 'Safe Bets' For Cancer Patients

A new analysis provides a closer look at how much cancer patients value hope - with important implications for how insurers value treatment, particularly in end-of-life care. The analysis led by Darius Lakdawalla, director of research at the Schaeffer Center at USC and associate professor in the USC Price School of Public Policy, surveyed 150 cancer patients currently undergoing treatment, and is part of a special issue on cancer spending from the journal Health Affairs. Lakdawalla and his co-authors found the overwhelming majority of cancer patients prefer riskier treatments that offer the possibility of longer survival over safer treatments: 77 percent of cancer patients said they would rather take a "hopeful gamble" - treatments that offer a 50/50 chance of either adding three years or no additional survival - to "safe bet" treatments that would keep them alive for 18 months, but no longer.

News From The Annals Of Family Medicine: March April 2012

Four articles in the current issue draw attention to policy initiatives and implications of the rapidly changing U.S. health care environment. Collectively, they examine some of the challenges and opportunities facing the country following the 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Researchers Project Cost of Family Health Insurance Premiums Will Surpass Household Income by 2033 Updating estimates of who will be able to afford health insurance in the future in light of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that reformed health care payment in the United States, researchers now estimate that the cost of an average family insurance premium will surpass household income by 2033. This compares to a 2005 estimate that the cost of insurance premiums would surpass household income by 2025.

How Insurance Status Influences Emergency Department Visit Rates

A study published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, reveals that newly insured and newly uninsured adults are more likely to go to the emergency department (ED) due to recent changes in health insurance status. The report is part of the journal's Health Care Reform series. The hospital ED is a significant indicator for access to care. According to the researchers, newly insured and newly uninsured individuals can find it hard to access outpatient care, and as a result may turn to hospital EDs in order to receive medical care. The research team led by Adit A. Ginde, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, examined 159, 934 respondents to the 2004-2009 National Health Interview Study, a cross-sectional household interview of a sample that approximates the non-institutionalized U.

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