Designing a Medicare Drug Benefit: Balancing Government-Based and Market-Based Approaches, the Implications for Rural Beneficiaries

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Examines the relationship between a variety of design characteristics of a Medicare prescription drug benefit and their likely impact on rural areas. The research is based on an analysis of three competing legislative proposals, the House passed proposal (HR 4954), the "Tripartisan" proposal (S 2729), and the Graham proposal (S 2625). In addition, there is an analysis of data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, pharmacy benefit managers, discussions with various state and federal policy makers, and reviews of published literature. The study finds that the different prescription drug proposals will have positive implications for rural areas and address the lack of access to Medicare+Choice drug coverage in rural areas. Rural pharmacies may see a change in revenue, but the actual result of the changes has not been studied. Report available by contacting the Center.

NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis