Impact on States of the Medicare Drug Benefit: Information for State Legislators


The new drug benefit established by Part D of the Medicare Modernization Act assures that all older and disabled persons have access to affordable prescription drug coverage and will subsidize many low-income persons who previously had no access to drug benefits through Medicaid or state pharmaceutical assistance programs. States have numerous policy decisions to make in implementing the Part D drug benefit, including several options to enhance the Part D program. These decisions must be made quickly in order to be ready for the January 1, 2006, implementation date. As the safety net provider for many vulnerable individuals, the state's choices on these matters are important to the future well-being of the elderly and disabled.