April 04, 2015

These are our programs. We’ve earned them. They work. And they’re worth fighting for.

Medicare is our most successful health care program in America’s history. For fifty years it has given seniors the ability to see a doctor and fill a prescription – and it has kept them out of poverty.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is leading the charge to celebrate Medicare’s 50th birthday in 2015.


  • On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Medicare, which provides low-cost hospitalization and medical insurance for the nation’s elderly. The legislation remains an important legacy of LBJ’s “Great Society” society initiative.
  • At the White House bill-signing ceremony, Johnson enrolled Harry S. Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the nation’s first Medicare card.
  • Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966.
  • In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant.

As of 2014,

54 million Americans were on Medicare.


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Topics: Blog

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