Editor's Blog

A Brief History of Medicare and Medicaid

Lyndon Baines Johnson signs medicare and medicaid bill in 1965

On July 30th, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that would lead to the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid. Back then, the program included Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, medical insurance. Today, Parts A and B are called “Original Medicare”, and continue to help Americans with their healthcare costs.

Throughout the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare that has made it available to more Americans. In 1972, Medicare expanded to provide coverage to the disabled, those with end-stage renal disease, and people 65 or older.

Medicaid has also come a long way in helping Americans in need. When it first began, Medicaid only offered medical insurance to those who received cash assistance. Today, the program gives medical insurance to low-income families, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and people who need long-term care.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997. It gave preventive care to almost 11 million uninsured American children. Now, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have CHIP plans.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA)represented the biggest change in the Medicare program in 38 years. Private health plans approved by Medicare became known as Medicare Advantage plans, or Medicare Part C. In 2006, the MMA expanded to include Medicare Part D, an optional prescription drug benefit.

In 2010, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was put into place. It enacted the Health Insurance Marketplace, a single place where consumers can apply for and enroll in private health insurance plans.

Two years ago, the summer of 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaidprograms. In reviewing the first 50 years of the program, Lyndon B. Johnson’s original proposal for Medicare truly changed society and the ways in which we work together to strengthen and improve healthcare for future generations.


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