PBS NewsHour, July 27, 2011

Seniors with access to affordable prescription drugs require less spending on emergency and short-term nursing care, according to a study of Medicare Part D released Tuesday. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the report shows that the federal program -- which subsidizes prescription drugs for seniors – "significantly" reduces non-drug medical costs for those who had limited coverage before the program began in 2006. The report is the latest in a string that indicate Part D gives seniors better access to the drugs they need, increases their adherence to medication instructions and reduces their out-of-pocket costs. But this is the first major report to show that better drug care translates to a drop in spending on acute and post-acute care, including hospitalizations and short-term nursing home stays.

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