New research conducted by Gabriel Brooks, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues published in the March 12, 2013, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows no direct link between Medicare spending and advanced cancer survival rates across the United States.
The researchers used the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Medicare data sets to come to the conclusion that despite regional variations in the amount of money spent by state and federal programs funding Medicare care for people with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreas, breast and prostate cancer no significant improvement in survival was seen between 2002 and 2007. The data set covered over one quarter of the U. S. population.
While the amount of money spent in any given region could vary as much as 41 percent between high and low spending regions no direct link between regional spending and advanced cancer survival was found.
These findings will become more pertinent as the deadline for states to select providers for an "essential health benefits" package as directed by the Affordable Care Act. The deadline for selection and implementation of an essential benefits plan in January 2014.
Those states that have opted out of the Affordable Care Act may see the loss of federal Medicare dollars as the January 2014 deadline approaches. Twenty-four states have selected a health care plan with essential benefits to date.