If we’re talking about Medicare’s Part D expansion to cover prescription drugs, the answer is yes according to a paper by Dunn and Shapiro (2018).
We examine the impact of Medicare Part D on mortality for the population over the age of 65. We identify the effects of the reform using variation in drug coverage across counties before the reform was implemented. Studying mortality rates immediately before and after the reform, we find that cardiovascular-related mortality drops significantly in those counties most affected by Part D. Estimates suggest that up to 26,000 more individuals were alive in mid-2007 because of the Part D implementation in 2006. We estimate the welfare benefit from lives saved to range from $1.5 to $4.8 billion.
An ungated version of their working paper is available here.
Hat tip to Kevin Lewis.
- Dunn, Abe, and Adam Hale Shapiro. “Does Medicare Part D Save Lives?” American Journal of Health Economics Just Accepted (2015): 1-48.