Before the 1970s, Democrats were full of confidence when pushing for federal programs. Indeed, 44 years ago this week, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation that created Medicare and Medicaid. The event took place at Harry Truman's presidential library in Independence, Missouri.
Sitting beside the 81-year-old former president, Johnson announced: "No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years."
The program succeeded. Government worked. Before Medicare started, only about 50 percent of Americans who were 65 or older possessed hospital coverage. Within five years of the program's creation, 97 percent of the elderly had hospital coverage. The same changes occurred with physician's coverage. Today, more than 40 million elderly Americans rely on the program -- as do their families who don't have to take responsibility for these costs.
In a national Commonwealth Fund survey, elderly Medicare beneficiaries reported greater overall satisfaction with their health coverage, better access to care, and fewer problems paying medical bills than people covered by employer-sponsored plans. The findings bolster the argument that offering a public insurance plan similar to Medicare to the under-65 population has the potential to improve access and reduce costs.
And another BIG GOVERNMENT program that works BETTER than private for-profit healthcare is the SOCIALIST Veteran's Administration!