56th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid and ADA Anniversary

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Birthdays and anniversaries are big events for me; history is also important.  There are two (2) historical anniversaries this week that need mention.

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid. For 56 years since, these programs have helped to protect the health and well-being of millions of Americans throughout all of life’s key moments. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure released the following statements to mark the 56th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid today:

“For decades, Medicare and Medicaid have been a lifeline and a steady foundation for our seniors, children, women, families, people with disabilities, and at every stage in life,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Nearly 140 million Americans have health insurance coverage through either Medicare or Medicaid. As we mark their 56th anniversary, the Biden-Harris Administration is proud to celebrate, strengthen, and expand these programs which have improved the health and wellbeing of the American people. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda will extend Medicaid’s coverage to those who need it most and give older Americans additional benefits they critically need. Throughout my career, I’ve championed these vital programs for America’s families and seniors, and as HHS Secretary, I will work with President Biden to build upon Medicare and Medicaid for generations to come.”

“For 56 years, Medicare and Medicaid have made health coverage a reality for individuals and families when they have needed it,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “When President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress to spare the Nation’s seniors of ‘the darkness of sickness without hope,’ nearly half of seniors were uninsured, most hospitals around the country were segregated, and health coverage was out of reach for many. Medicare and Medicaid were critical steps forward in the fight for civil rights that brought the peace of mind that health coverage provides to many, made health care access more equitable by requiring the integration of hospitals, and improved health outcomes across the country. Today, nearly 140 million Americans have coverage thanks to Medicare and Medicaid.  The health needs of those who rely on these vital CMS programs are always evolving, and because of that, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to work to expand and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid so they remain quality and reliable health programs.  Ensuring these programs also work to advance health equity nationwide is also a top priority for CMS. Access to health coverage is a right and no one should be left out, left behind, or left on the sidelines.”

For more on the statements, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/07/29/hhs-secretary-xavier-becerra-cms-administrator-chiquita-brooks-lasure-56th-anniversary-medicare-medicaid.html

Fun fact:

(President Truman is seated on the far right of the signing photo.)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer and joint management labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation).

Happy anniversary to both pieces of legislation!  May you continue to serve Americans as you have for so many years.