December 15, 2015
2015 marks a landmark year for Medicare
On July 30, Medicare celebrates its 50th birthday as a cornerstone of retirement security in America. This landmark occasion is the perfect time to examine the legacy of the program and reflect upon the positive impact it has had on the lives and health of our nation’s retirees.
When President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, growing older often meant poverty and illness. Only half of our nation’s seniors had health insurance. Insurance was seen as a luxury that many seniors simply couldn’t afford.
Older Americans were all too often faced with a choice between protecting their health and protecting their savings. For millions of uninsured seniors, an illness could mean being thrust into poverty or going without treatment altogether. An estimated one in four retirees used to go without necessary care due to cost concerns. About one in three seniors lived out their older years in poverty. Many were forced to lean on friends and family to provide care and financial support during times of illness.
When Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965, retired workers, regardless of income or health history, found themselves with guaranteed health coverage for the first time. Today, seniors across the country are able to see a doctor and fill a prescription because of the Medicare program. Medicare has been so successful that today’s seniors are more likely to have health coverage.
Please celebrate Medicare’s 50 years of success and help make sure it’s around for 50 more.
— Tom “TBird” Bird, Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans president, Wellington