This article originally appeared on The Orlando Sentinel

Medicare Part D — Medicare’s program that helps seniors cover the costs of pharmaceutical drugs — has been an unqualified success. And, perhaps, the Obama administration finally has recognized this success.

This is one explanation for why the administration has shelved its proposed rule change that would have damaged this successful and popular program. Another explanation is more polemical.

When announcing that the administration would not be pursuing this rule change, Medicare’s chief administrator Marilyn Tavenner reserved the right to make “some or all of the changes in future years.” If by future years the administrator means non-election years, then this shelving is only a temporary respite.

Unlike other Medicare programs, Medicare Part D does not rely on a command and control system out of Washington D.C. — its major structural advantage. Instead, Medicare Part D subsidizes the costs for seniors who voluntarily purchase private insurance policies that cover the costs associated with prescription drugs.

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