Massachusetts lawmakers on Dec. 29, 2005, approved a bill that would allow the state to provide temporary assistance with prescription drug costs for state residents enrolling in the new Medicare drug benefit, which began on Jan. 1, the Boston Herald reports. According to the Herald, many Medicare beneficiaries have expressed concern that they do not know which Medicare drug plan best fits their needs. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Montigny (D), is intended to ensure that beneficiaries who are confused by the different options are able obtain their medications (Heldt Powell, Boston Herald, 12/30/05). Under the bill, the state would reimburse pharmacies for a one-time, 30-day supply of prescription drugs if the medication is not covered under the Medicare beneficiary's new drug plan.Health policy initiatives at the state level often fly under mainstream politico's radars. But the way policy is implemented in the state is often the difference between receiving treatment or going uninsured. In Medicare Part D's case (refer to my Medicare archive to read about the holes in the bill) Massachusetts' legislation will be immensely helpful. It gives pharmacies and patients extra time to figure out their plan (and until beneficiaries actually started receiving meds you don't know how the legislation is working) and pays for prescriptions in the meantime. But it's still a short-term solution that doesn't require extended financial commitment. Little pain, big gain.