Economic Program | Report

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

by David Kendall

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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 10 years ago. Today, Part D is among the most popular federal programs.

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? This report, and Executive Summary, 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.