Healthcare reform affects cancer on many fronts
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More coverage for treatment and prevention planned
Sophia Smith, PhD, MSW, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 16 years. Years later, after giving birth to twins, she was diagnosed with breast cancer - possibly the result of previous radiation treatments.
Knowing the importance of health insurance, Dr. Smith chose jobs where she always would have coverage despite her cancer history - first at a large corporation (IBM) and now as a postdoctoral fellow in cancer care quality at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Smith understands firsthand how lucky she is to have always had health insurance. A National Cancer Institute-funded study she conducted 5 years ago as a doctoral candidate at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, added to the large body of evidence regarding the struggles cancer patients have faced for years.
She found that of 886 non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivors, 10% were denied healthcare insurance, 11% did not change jobs for fear of losing their healthcare insurance, and 3% lost their insurance - all directly related to having cancer
After the passage of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in March, however, those statistics are expected to change dramatically - most notably through the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions and rescissions of coverage due to cancer.
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