Five years ago, in 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implemented the Medicare Part D program, which had become law in 2003. The 2006 implementation opened a heated debate, both on the merits of the original legislation as well as its implementation. There were wildly divergent projections on the program’s overall cost and potential savings to seniors.
In response, the Bush White House and then-HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt engineered a major effort designed at countering numerous concerns, most importantly, would beneficiaries enroll? How would beneficiaries manage the process of assessing which plan best served their needs?
Five years into Part D’s implementation, we have some answers to these questions. Today, as the U.S. government is in the midst of implementing a new, even more controversial health care law—and the nation faces growing fiscal constraints—the Part D program merits re-examination.
Medicare Part D Drug Benefit, edited by Tevi Troy and Hanns Kuttner (Hudson Institute, December 2011)