2015 marks the 50th anniversary of three of the nation’s most important programs for seniors – Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act.  It is also the year for the White House Conference on Aging when advocates and policy makers will be discussing the future of aging services.

Last month, myself and four of my office colleagues, Janie Deleon Male, Alicia Kagan, Jennifer Cooley, and Kathleen Magee traveled to Washington, DC for a full day Medicare Symposium sponsored by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  The session on the history of Medicare left a lasting impression on me.

Over the last fifty years, Medicare has left a lasting mark on all aspects of American society.  Medicare has a direct effect on the following:

  • Key to racial equality in hospitals following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Reduced poverty among the elderly from 29% in 1966 to 10.5% in 1995.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, CT-3, has stated:

“Along with Medicare, Social Security, and now the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is a bedrock part of our social insurance system.  Its enactment was a turning point in our history that has helped insure the elderly do not have to go without basic health care.  Before Medicare, only half of Americans over the age of 65 had health coverage; now virtually all do.  Average life expectancy has risen by eight full years.”

For more information on Medicare, please visit the Center for Medicare Advocacy website, www.medicareadvocacy.org.

For more information on the history of Medicare, please click on the below link for the Kaiser Family Foundation video, “The Story of Medicare: A Timeline”

Click to Watch the Video

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