Favorite villains: Medicare Part D

The addition to the Medicare entitlement collection in 2003 has been a target both because of its advocates and its ideology. James Capretta describes Klein’s F on Part D by going over the numbers that show that the program has done well for bringing in market forces and reducing costs while, at the same time, providing benefits.

At the time of its enactment in 2003, the Medicare drug benefit — known as Medicare Part D — had many critics. … All these predictions were dead wrong. The program is now in its sixth year of operation, and it has exceeded all expectations. Some 90 percent of Medicare participants are now in secure drug coverage of some sort, and public-opinion surveys continue to show that seniors are very satisfied with the new program. Most important, the drug benefit’s costs for the first decade are coming in 42 percent below what was predicted at the time of enactment.

The bill that set up this program also established the health savings accounts. These have been successful but extremely distasteful to some. Paul Ryan’s proposals for federal budget relief learns from the success of the 2003 efforts and attempts to broaden the ideas tested then. The attacks on Ryan’s proposal must also attack the 2003 bill and that is, in part, what stimulated the Capretta rebuttal.

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