Huh and Reif (2017) have an interesting study of the effect of Medicare Part D on mortality. The abstract is below.
We investigate the implementation of Medicare Part D and estimate that this prescription drug benefit program reduced elderly mortality by 2.2% annually. This was driven primarily by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, the leading cause of death for the elderly. There was no effect on deaths due to cancer, a condition whose drug treatments are covered under Medicare Part B. We validate these results by demonstrating that the changes in drug utilization following the implementation of Medicare Part D match the mortality patterns we observe. We calculate that the value of the mortality reduction is equal to $5 billion per year.
Previous studies have shown that increases in Medicare Part D spending decrease medical spending (i.e., Part A and B). The CBO estimates that a 10% increase in Medicare Part D is correlated with a 2% decrease in medical care spending.
Adding in the results from Huh and Reif, we see that Part D drugs also reduce mortality as well.
- Huh, Jason, and Julian Reif. “Did Medicare Part D Reduce Mortality?.” Journal of Health Economics 53 (2017): 17-37.