For This We Added an Unfunded Liability Greater than Social Security’s?

Between 2003 and 2007, elderly beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid experienced a two-fold increase in unmet prescription drug needs. In 2003, 10.8% reported difficulty affording prescription drugs, which grew to 21.3% in 2007.

The new Medicare drug benefit did little to close large pre­scription drug access gaps between elderly white and African-American beneficiaries and healthier and sicker beneficiaries. For example, three times as many elderly African-American beneficiaries (17.6%) went without a prescribed medi­cation in 2007 as white beneficiaries (6.2%).

Comments (5)

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  1. Bret says:

    Who is “we”? This was George W. and the Republicans in Congress. Yes, I know. The Democrats wanted an even larger drug benefit. But when Bill Clinton was president, they never did it. They just talked about it.

  2. Bruce says:

    Agree with Bret. It was the worst thing George Bush did as president.

  3. Tom H. says:

    However, in critiques of Bush, you almost never see this mentioned.

  4. Stephen C. says:

    Nonseniors don’t have to buy a separate drug benefit. Instead, they can enroll in integrated health plans. Too bad more seniors cannot do the same.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    The data show that people on Medicare leave Medicare HMOs for Medicare fee-for-service when they become ill and need a lot of care. Apparently the integrated health plans limit access to advanced care as a price of the integrated drug benefit.

    That’s fine if you don’t need a lot of care, not so good if you do. Fortunately Medicare still preserves that choice.