Medicare & Medicaid: Providing Health & Security for 46 Years
Posted on July 29, 2011 by Families USA
President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965, to provide access to quality, affordable health care for thousands of Americans. Since then, Medicare and Medicaid have been cornerstones of the health and security of many Americans, particularly seniors.
Today, more than 44 million Americans depend on Medicare for health care benefits and by 2030, 20% of the US population will be eligible. More than 58 million Americans depend on Medicaid for health care benefits and long term care coverage.
But as they approach their 46th birthday, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack. The House-passed budget proposal would end Medicare as we know it and slash Medicaid by about one-third and shift the costs onto states and families. Other proposals circulating could also decimate these programs. In particular:
The House-passed budget and similar proposals for Medicare would:
- Increase prescription drug costs for today’s seniors;
- Turn Medicare into a voucher program;
- More than double seniors’ out-of-pocket health care costs.
Deficit reduction proposals for Medicaid would:
- Make it harder for people with disabilities to stay in their homes;
t harder for people to afford nursing home care if they need it;
- Pass more of the cost of long-term care on to seniors, people with disabilities, and their families;
- Cut health care for the more than 28 million children who rely on Medicaid to get a better, healthier start in life.
- Shift costs onto people and their families who depend on Medicaid.
Medicare and Medicaid’s 46th birthday should not be their last! We know that:
Medicare and Medicaid work:
- For more than 45 years, Medicaid and Medicare have increased access to health care for seniors, people with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and other low-income adults, and children.
- The poverty level for seniors has dropped and deaths among low-income children have decreased.
We must keep our promises.
- Medicare and Medicaid provide health and financial security for people who rely on them today.
- They are a promise of security to future generations.
- Ensuring these programs’ future means controlling health care costs. And to do that, we must fund and implement the Affordable Care Act, not push costs onto those who can least afford it.