The new Medicare legislation enacted in December, 2003, continues to draw fire for its cost and structure, but the blanket criticism misses many of the important and necessary improvements it contains.
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) contains critical changes to fix problems with the program, changes that get into the hardwiring of Medicare?s benefit-driven structure.
One such change involves the way Medicare Part B pays doctors for administering prescription drug therapy in their offices, including chemotherapy. Even though Medicare currently does not cover most outpatient drugs, it does pay physicians to administer some drug treatments in their offices to avoid the higher cost of hospitalization and to make receiving the drugs less inconvenient for patients. (Following enactment of MMA, Medicare will begin providing a general outpatient prescription drug benefit for all beneficiaries beginning in 2006.)
Click here to read the paper.