In spite of its relatively low benefit levels, the Medicare Part D benefit generate $3.5 billion of annual static deadweight loss reduction, and at least $2.8 billion of annual value from extra innovation. These two components alone cover 87% of the social cost of publicly financing the benefit.
And here's another research result:
Overall, a $1 increase in prescription drug spending is associated with a $2.06 reduction in Medicare spending.
Both papers are from very reputable sources. Left-wingers focus on the "giveaways" in this plan and conservatives focus on the cost or maybe they don't walk to talk about it at all. It's a little late to go through all the usual pro and con arguments on the policy as a whole. I'd just like to note that – relative to its reputation – the Medicare prescription drug benefit is one of the most underrated government programs of our time. If the goal is to cut or check Medicare spending, and I think it should be, we should do it elsewhere in the program.
It's also possible that the prescription drug benefit will do more for peoples' health (as opposed to their financial security) than will the Obama plan. Try getting people to consider that. The debate has become very emotional and not for the better.
I am more than willing to listen to criticisms of those cited studies. But in the meantime it seems I should rationally believe what I do.
Here is a related post of relevance.