The Great Society turns 50

Jul 23, 2015 by

Education News – Before Medicare, almost half of all Americans 65 and older had no health insurance. Today that number is two percent.

Tom Watkins –

Fifty years ago, LBJ’s “Great Society” created a healthier nation when on July 30, 1965, Medicare and Medicaid, the two foundations of government health insurances, were signed into law. Since then, millions of poor and elderly have been helped from use of this government safety net to obtain medical care.

According to the The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, during their 50-year history each of these programs has come to play a key role in providing health coverage to millions of Americans and make up a significant component of federal and state budgets.

Medicare, a federal government program, provides health insurance coverage for Americans age 65 and older, regardless of income, as well as those under age 65 with permanent disabilities. Medicaid provides coverage for medical care and long-term care services to low-income people and is jointly financed by federal and state governments, with each state deciding how to structure benefits, eligibility and care delivery within guidelines set by the federal government. Medicaid is also one of the primary ways the Affordable Care Act, actively supported by Gov. Rick Snyder and branded “Healthy Michigan” in our state, expanded coverage to millions more low-income, uninsured adults. Today, both programs cover 111 million Americans.

Before Medicare, almost half of all Americans 65 and older had no health insurance. Today that number is two percent.

Bold bipartisan action a half century ago provided Americans a healthier existence and expanded lifespans.

Source: Watkins: The Great Society turns 50

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