Policy Documents

How Medicare Part D Beat the Odds—and Why Policymakers Should Care

David Kendall –
November 1, 2013

In this document praising Medicare Part D and its implementation, David Kendall writes in this document that, 

An expensive, partisan, and massive new entitlement, wrongly conceived, poorly designed, and awkwardly executed. While that sounds like charges being leveled at the Affordable Care Act, those were actually the indictments against Medicare Part D, enacted exactly 10 years ago. Today, Part D is among the most popular federal programs. It has come in well under budget. It has improved the financial and physical health of millions of seniors. It is celebrated as a government success.

How did Medicare Part D go from worst to first, and are there lessons for the Affordable Care Act—the newest vilified health care program? In this report, we examine Part D’s achievements and the critical lessons that Part D can teach policymakers as they implement the ACA and design health policy in this decade and beyond. We also suggest further ways to make Part D even better as it begins its second decade. 

This document explains that:

  • Consumers will save money if they have choices and support in making coverage decisions;
  • Smart policy changes will reduce costly hospital stays; and
  • Automated tools can identify and enroll low-income populations.