Prescription drug coverage was missing from Medicare until the Congress passed a prescription drug benefit in 2003 being implemented this year. The debate has been intense in terms of reasons for and implemenation of the program. This morning, the secretary of health and human services, Mike Levitt, said on C-SPAN "the market is working" and drug prices are coming down; a market helped along by government intervention. But what exactly has the government done to help the market reduce costs to consumers? Probably too early to tell given the complicated formulas set up to determine individual benefits. One thing it did not do was use the federal government's purchasing power to reduce the costs of prescription drugs- something done by many other industrialized nations around the world. We'll see in the coming months how seniors are affected or not affected by this plan set to cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The hope is to give more access to life-saving drugs while giving consumers choices so the market will determine prices- not the government. Only time will tell if we get it right or if other countries already did.