Major Players in Passing Medicare and Medicaid Legislation
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid legislation on July 30, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice is recognizing individuals who played an important role in passing the legislation throughout July.
John William McCormack served in the United States House of Representatives for 43 years including almost a decade as Speaker of the House. He also served as House Majority Leader on three different occasions. His difficult childhood growing up in Boston contributed to his efforts in public service to address poverty. McCormack quit school after the eighth grade in order to work at a brokerage firm to support his family. While he never attended high school, McCormack studied law in the evenings and was able to pass the Massachusetts bar exam by the age of 21. After serving in World War I, McCormack pursued his interest in politics, winning election to the Massachusetts state legislature and later to the United States Congress. He eventually became Speaker of the House as a self-declared “national” Congressman who represented the interests of the country as a whole rather than only those of his district. As Speaker of the House from 1962 to 1971, McCormack had an important role in the Great Society legislation—including Medicare, welfare and civil rights legislation. “I have no hesitancy in insisting that Government in an emergency do everything that can reasonably be done to relieve human suffering and distress,” he said. Throughout his distinguished career, he displayed a deep passion for public service and the legislative body in which he served. “My heart is in this House,” he said, in 1970, at the time of his retirement. “I have an intense love for this body.”