31 Jul Happy Birthday to Medicare & Medicaid!
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid and Medicare into law at a ceremony in Independence, Missouri. Congress passed the Social Security Amendments of 1965, after three previous Presidents had fought for the creation of a national health plan.
Former President Truman was issued the very first Medicare card during the signing ceremony. 19 million Americans signed up for Medicare during its first year.
At the time, these two federal programs were a groundbreaking way to provide basic insurance options for Americans without health insurance.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program that covers eligible people who:
- Are 65 years are older;
- Have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for 2 years; or
- Have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS.
Medicaid is the federal health insurance program that covers people who have low-incomes and meet certain categories of eligibility. Medicaid eligibility varies by state.
Over the years, these government health insurance programs have continued to change, covering more Americans and providing additional benefits.
- For example, in 1972, President Nixon expanded the coverage of Medicare to people under the age of 65 with long-term disabilities and individuals with
- In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, which created Medicare prescription drug coverage.
- And in 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicare to cover free preventive and wellness services and improve prescription drug coverage.
- Click here to view a video about the history of Medicare.
Today, nearly 50 million Americans receive health insurance coverage through Medicare alone.
Nearly 70 million Americans receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid.
To learn more about Medicare, visit www.Medicare.gov or read www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf. Each year, Medicare also releases Medicare & You, which includes details about Medicare, including costs, benefits, and how to find plans in your area.
To learn more about Medicaid, visit www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip. For more in depth information about Medicaid, visit http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/medicaid-moving-forward.
Yesterday, Medicare and Medicaid celebrated their 50th birthday. As our health care system and health insurance options continue to evolve over time, it is important to keep perspective and remember that when Medicare and Medicaid were first introduced, they were not welcomed by many people. But today, they are well-established ways for Americans to get access to health care.
View this video about the history of Medicare & Medicaid.