Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid
July 30, 2015 10:38 AM
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid being signed into law on Thursday, July 30. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965.
Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, hailed the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid being signed into law. “It is only appropriate that we thank Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy as well as Republican Leader C. Everett Dirksen, for their gift to the nation of Medicare and Medicaid,” Halamandaris said. “In simple terms, Medicare and Medicaid have enhanced the freedoms of our seniors and added years to life, and life to years.”
Before Medicare, seniors across the country were at risk and unable to buy health insurance when statistically they received only half of their pre-retirement income and were sick three times as often and hospitalized three times as long as their younger counterparts. Halamandaris stated that Medicare helped assuage seniors’ worries by providing them with access to the best health care coverage at an affordable price.
“What price would we place on helping our elders achieve a longer and healthier life?” Halamandaris asked. “Surely we would be willing to do all in our power to give them freedom from worry, from the fear of going without care, and from the fear that they will lose all they worked for and wind up a ward of the state.” President John F. Kennedy thought there was no better investment than to provide health care for seniors. Referencing the historian, Arnold Toynbee, who had studied the survival of civilizations, Kennedy argued it was important to venerate and care for our elders like the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Chinese, and that it was morally the right thing to do. What was at stake, Kennedy argued, was nothing less than the future of American democracy and how we will be viewed through the prism of history.
Because of Medicare and Medicaid, America has earned a much better score over the past 50 years for its treatment of vulnerable populations. At the same time, any objective analysis will demonstrate changes must be made. Today, some 90 percent of Medicare costs relate to the management of chronic disease; yet Medicare is still geared to acute illness. “We need to cancel the some $80 billion in cuts in home health care, and instead increase our investments in home and community-based care. Equally important is to increase the use of telehealth to help monitor health care of patients from a distance. Simply put, help is needed to keep even more seniors with multiple or chronic health care needs at home and independent, where they most want to be.” Halamandaris said. “Freedoms earned and realized have a way of pointing the way to still greater freedoms that are required by future generations.”
“Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid,” Halamandaris said. “We are grateful for all you have done in your first 50 years, and for your continued support of the 78 million members of the Baby Boom generation which is just now coming of age.”
Visit our Happy Birthday Medicare page to find out more about the major players in passing this historic legislation.