Happy Anniversary Medicare and Medicaid

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

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act Amendments, thus establishing Medicare and Medicaid, the health insurance programs for Americans. For over 57 years, these two medical support programs have been the foundation that ensures affordable healthcare for all Americans over sixty-five years of age and low-income families. The original Medicare program consisted of hospital insurance – Part A – and medical insurance – Part B.

Here’s what has happened with the Medicare program since 1965:

  • 1972 – ESRD (end-stage renal disease) coverage was made available to folks under the age of 65 as well as long-term disability. President Nixon was in office then. Approximately 9 million Americans receive this coverage today.
  • 1977 – saw the “birth” of Medicare Part C, originally called Medicare+Choice then later Medicare Advantage as we know it now. President Clinton was in office then.
  • 2003 – President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. This law included provisions for Part D prescription drug coverage.
  • 2006 – Part D prescription drug plans became a reality. More than 46 million Americans now have this coverage.

57 years is not a hallmark anniversary but that is a lot of years for such programs to continue to exist and benefit Americans!

Quick trivia question for you: Who was the 1st Medicare Beneficiary?

Answer: Former President Harry Truman (on the right in the above picture). Here’s what his Medicare card looked like:

Anniversaries, like birthdays, are a big deal. I love those events as they represent where we are now, where we’ve been and where we’re heading in the future. Medicare & Medicaid’s anniversary reminds us of the millions that have, do and will rely on these health insurance programs.

Happy Anniversary!