Copyright (c) 2005 Loyola University Chicago Institute for Health Law
Annals of Health Law
ARTICLE: An Rx for the Modification of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003: Toward a Reform with Results
14 Ann. Health L. 183
Daniel Katz and Monica Deshpande*
The advent of modern medicine has increased the quality of available health care services dramatically. The use of outpatient prescription drugs has allowed today's patients to live longer, more productive lives. However, the shift from invasive inpatient procedures to outpatient pharmaceuticals has come at a price. There has been a significant increase in demand, 1 prices, 2 per capita expenses, 3 and total expenditures 4 for these prescription drugs.
Moreover, the burden of these sizeable expenses has not been distributed uniformly across the population. In particular, senior citizens have greater health care needs and, therefore, are most likely to incur significant prescription drug costs. 5 One recent study found adults over the age of sixty-five experienced annual "out-of-pocket" pharmaceutical expenditures more than double that of the average adult under the age of sixty-five. 6
Medicare, 7 the public health insurance system for older Americans, has struggled to keep pace with these expenditure trends of modern medicine. For example, prior to recent legislation, traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare 8 lacked any significant form of an outpatient prescription drug benefit. 9 This lack of coverage had a detrimental impact on seniors who increasingly relied upon medications but were unable to acquire necessary supplementary drug coverage. 10 Some seniors lacking coverage chose to travel abroad to purchase their medications, 11 while others without such recourse faced the difficult choice between spending their limited financial resources on medication, or on food or other essentials. 12
In reaction to this problem, ...
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