It's a massive health care entitlement with unfunded future costs over $7 trillion. Many conservatives are still upset at the way it was rammed through Congress.
But when the Republican presidential candidates were asked last week asked if they would repeal the Medicare drug benefit, they said no way. After all, Republicans created it.
Republicans want to pull the plug on the health care overhaul they call "Obamacare," but that law is arguably less a deficit driver than the Medicare drug plan they are defending.
Debt and deficit are the focus of the Republican Party as the 2012 presidential campaign moves through the nominating process and looks ahead to the general election. Yet the reluctance of GOP candidates to renounce a costly entitlement program that voters like shows how politics can come into play when critiquing the federal ledger.
Passed by a GOP-led Congress in 2003 under President George W. Bush, the prescription program is immensely popular with older people, faithful voters who lately have been trending Republican.