Two recent studies allow different conclusions on the cost of health care reform.
The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports on the George W. Bush expansion of prescription drug coverage under Medicare – referred to as Medicare Part D. The researchers found that that the five year old Medicare Part D program resulted in significant reductions in non-drug medical spending for those who had limited access to drugs prior to the enactment of the law.
The researchers found that the program saves $12 billion dollars annually. The savings come primarily in reduced in-patient hospitalizations and emergency room use. The savings admittedly do not offset the $55 billion annual cost of the program. The study only looks at the savings to Medicare. It does not examine any other outcomes such as reduced mortality or quality of life improvements.
With more affordable access to prescription drugs, seniors can better manage chronic conditions and avoid acute episodes that might land them in the ER or in the hospital. Continue reading