Transforming the US Healthcare System: Medicare & Medicaid Turn 50

The issue of healthcare – who has it, who doesn’t – has always been a concern for families in the United States. Obamacare may be the latest attempt to make healthcare somewhat affordable and available for all. However, it was enacted almost 50 years after the advent of the U.S. government’s initial and, perhaps most important, programs – Medicare and Medicaid. These important programs were established after Congress passed amendments to the Social Security Act in 1965.

Medicare and Medicaid have transformed America’s healthcare system for five decades. Through Medicare, senior citizens have access to quality healthcare services; Medicaid provides low-income families with access to medical services and medication. Medicaid has also afforded countless elderly Americans with access to skilled nursing facilities.
When President Lyndon Johnson established the programs on July 30, 1965, it began as basic health coverage. However, over the years, Medicare and Medicaid have evolved to “provide more Americans with improved access to quality and affordable health care coverage. These programs have transformed the delivery of health care in the United States.”

Since this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are holding an “online celebration” to recognize the programs’ impact on the US. Follow @cmsgov on Twitter and visit Medicaid.gov to read daily facts and posts about the programs. For 50 days, CMS is “highlighting people, places, and progress that represent the Medicare and Medicaid programs as we know today.”

This anniversary gives us “an important opportunity for us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played in protecting the health and well-being of millions of families,” said Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Today, Medicare and Medicaid are creating a health care system that is better, smarter, and healthier – setting standards for how care is delivered. As we take a moment to reflect on the past five decades, we must also look to the future and explore ways to strengthen and improve health care for future generations.”

Check out the website (http://www.medicare.gov) for information about special public events being held in late July throughout the US and one national event in Washington, D.C.

At Bratton Scott, we salute those who have worked so hard to help these important healthcare programs evolve over the years. When it comes to navigating the intricacies of these programs, especially with regard to long-term planning, we invite you to contact our office for assistance. For many years, we have helped residents of South Jersey plan for the future by creating documents today that help protect assets you’ve worked your whole life to accumulate. Contact us today for a consultation about your personal situation.