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Medicare & Medicaid Celebrate Their 50th Birthday

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson took a pen and scrawled his John Hancock across a document that brought Medicare and Medicaid into existence.

This past Thursday, groups across the nation celebrated the anniversary of the genesis of the two programs, with President Obama himself offering up a short video paying homage to the way the two programs have transformed the American health care system.

CBS News featured Obama’s video yesterday on their site, pointing out how the president “lashes out at critics.”  The video began amicably, however, with Obama noting that many Americans “might have missed” the “big birthday.”

If one of the best measure of a country is how it treats its more vulnerable citizens, — the seniors, the poor, the sick — then America has a lot to be proud of.

The president went on to talk about how the two programs have helped parents who have children with disabilities, seniors in poverty and seniors without health insurance.

The Medicare program offered its own insights on the significance of its services in honor of its birthday. In a post this past week on the organization’s blog, Medicare took pride in the number of Americans who are covered by some form of health insurance, noting that it’s “highly likely” the readers knows someone in their family who has benefited from the services.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of these lifesaving programs lets us reflect on how they transformed the delivery of health care in the United States.

In Rhode Island, a delegation of the state’s congressional representatives attended a meeting in Providence at which local residents talked about how the programs have helped them, the Providence Journal reported.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse addressed the crowd and was quoted by the paper as saying that the delegation appreciated hearing how the city’s retirees “enjoy their retirement and maintain their independence” because of the programs.

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