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In recent years, the legislation that has had the most widespread effect on the provision of health care in the United States was the addition of the Medicare prescription drug program in 2003. “The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit for people on Medicare, known as Part D, that went into effect January 1, 2006, “ (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007). While the pharmaceuticals industry and medical professionals also supported the legislation, the key support came from the American Association of Retired Persons (Novelli, 2003).

AARP Chief Executive William Novelli said that his organization supported the legislation because they believed it would give senior citizens with limited access to their medications a more financially feasible manner in which to receive it. (Novelli, 2003). The legislation, which allows private insurance companies to offer Medicare recipients prescription coverage was a boon for the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and presumably for senior citizens as well.

Under the law, Medicare recipients may choose a prescription drug insurance provder, so-called Part D coverage, and have the money directly withheld fromt heir social security check (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007). A recent study indicating that the senior citizens and other Medicare recipients are paying increasingly large ut of pocket costs for health care does not extend to a period of time after part D was initiated, but it may indicate why the program was so widely supported.

The study indicates that as many as 40 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries spend at least one fifth of their income on health-care related costs (Neuman, 2007). Widespread support for he bill may also have come from its compromise nature and the “everybody wins” philosophy. Whether that philosophy is true remains to be seen. WORKS CITED Kaiser Family Foundation, “Resources on the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit” http://www. kff. org/medicare/rxdrugbenefit. cfm, November 13, 2007.

Neuman, Patricia. , Juliette Cubanksi, Katherine Demond and Thomas Rice. “How Much ‘Skin In The Game’ Do Medicare beneficiaries have? The increasing Financial Burden of health Care Spending, 1997-2003” Health Affairs, November/Devember 2007, <http://www. kff. org/medicare/med110107oth. cfm>, November 12, 2007. Novelli, William D. “Why AARP Said “Yes” to Medicare Prescription Drug Bill” December 3, 2003. http://www. aarp. org/research/medicare/coverage/a2003-12-04-oped. html, November 13, 2007.

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