The advent of Medicare Part D helped move the nation toward the "critically important" goal of lipid control, with more people using cholesterol-lowering drugs after 2006 than before. However, racial gaps in statin use persist, suggesting factors besides drug coverage are fueling the disparity. After Part D was introduced, the number of heart disease or diabetes patients taking the drugs rose, with 48% of black patients and 65% of white patients taking statins. Differences in care quality, patient preferences and health status may contribute to the disparity, study leader Joseph Hanlon said.

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