Today, Medicare turns 49 years old. The most popular social program, it provides those 65 and over access to comprehensive medical care. Medicare also covers those with disabilities and specific medical conditions.
Created in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, health care became a matter of social right and guaranteed coverage for a defined set of benefits at predictable costs to all seniors and people with disabilities, regardless of their background. This has improved the quality of life for millions of Americans, as prior to Medicare, only half of all older adults had access to health insurance. Through amendments and extensions by Congress, Medicare also aids Americans with HIV and those with end stage renal disease.
Some facts about Medicare that you may not know:
- It aided in the desegregation of America during the Civil Rights Movement. One of the conditions of participation in Medicare was desegregation of the hospitals.
- By the year 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be eligible for Mediocare (77 million people).
- President Harry S. Truman was the first person to be enrolled as a Medicare beneficiary.
Medicare is not to be confused with Medicaid, which is a state and federal assistance program designed for low-income families.
For more information on Medicare, visit Medical Insurance, which is part of How to Prepare for Retirement. This section helps elders figure out the best way to handle their finances and avoid credit problems.
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