(2003) that examined the access that black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries have to prescribe drugs for chronic conditions. Not much has changed in the times since then and taking the findings of the study it can be established that the Black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries are subject to medication under use for economic reasons. This is also true for the chronically-ill black and Hispanic beneficiaries, who require constant medication but have no resources and have very meager drug coverage. The three common diseases that cause the depravity foremost are heart ailments, diabetes and HIV / AIDS. Though the federal initiatives have given importance to the three diseases in removing disparities, yet the benefits are to reach the target. (Briesacher; et al., 2003)
The general access to prescription drugs is not available for black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries. Thus these groups of people may need a different amendment in the policy to ease their burden of payment and create an easy access to medicines. The research is an eye opener and though there has been lot of changes since then it is worthwhile considering if these problems have been set right in 2009, six years after the preliminary finding. As mentioned earlier there is a direct relation between age and the use of medical resources and this applies to prescription drugs. The examination of the Medicare program that is meant to provide health insurance benefits for elderly and disabled persons initially did not have provisions for the payment of the purchase of prescription drugs for persons. While the employed may have health benefits there is no provision to cover the outpatient prescription drug purchase. At the beginning of the millennium the status of the Medicare and the previous legislations in this regard was detailed and discussed in a research. (Poisal, et al., 1999)
We may note that there have been up to the year 2000 many acts passed to overcome the deficits of the Medicare legislation that include The 'Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act', which could have brought the benefit required but was repealed in 1989. It can also be taken into account that the 'National Bipartisan Commission' on the 'Future of Medicare' recommended far back in 1977, adding an outpatient prescription drug benefit to Medicare for persons with low incomes. (Poisal, et al., 1999) However the situation as found in the beginning of the Millennium is that mostly beneficiaries who have the Medicare risk health maintenance organizations -- HMOs have prescription drug coverage. The statistics at that time showed that the black persons and other minorities had coverage rates higher than white people because of the numbers in population. Income was also a factor and the people with incomes greater than $20,000 had coverage. Thus there is a need to stress on the Prescription drugs being made a part of the Medicare benefit. The second issue is that these are based on employer-sponsored insurance, and is not available to the elderly.
6. Is there any information on the future of this legislation? (Revision, obsolete, status of bill, etc.)
There have been a lot of changes to the act ever since 2006. The part D of the act created under the social security act a voluntary prescription drug benefit that mandated two prescription drug plans and in the scheme at 2006 the beneficiaries had to pay the full costs. (CCH Incorporated, 2004) In 2010 a new program was introduced that replaced the 2006 provision to have cost adjustment programs and this brings some relief to indigent persons. Under the new plan the prescription drug coverage must necessarily include the benefits provided under the plan, and with that the cost sharing ratio ought to be spelt out clearly. The provisions for late enrolment penalty have also been laid down. (CCH Incorporated, 2004)
There are bound to be American aged people who will or cannot afford the medical care and insurance, and there is also no solution to the fact that the requirements of prescription drugs are not covered. Medicare does not cover prescription drugs. There is a rising consumption of prescription drugs by the elderly and this is being paid out of pocket. The less educated elderly do not get the drug prescription coverage and some educated ones do. Most without coverage have family incomes below the federal poverty level. (Blevins, 2001)
Then there are the problems of the poor elderly being deprived totally of medical attention or the family as a whole getting poor in treating and meeting the diseases of old age not covered by the insurance. In other words aging may also cause poverty in families that are at the margin now. The 'Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement Act of 2003' as amended in 2006 to include the provision for prescription drugs was benefiting the employed and the retired personnel who came under its ambit but has left out the larger poor and expenses on prescription drugs that were psychotropic drugs. The use of tax subsidies has helped the voluntary adoption of the plan and in future the legislation would be to make the scheme cover the unemployed and the number prescription drug plans would also include charitable plans that would include the aged, the unemployed and poor persons linking the scheme to the social standing.
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