Medicare at 50 Years: A New Publication Series

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Before the Medicare program was enacted in 1965, 48 percent of Americans age 65 and older had no health insurance; today, just 2 percent lack coverage. Back then, older adults paid 56 percent of their health care expenses directly out of pocket; today, that figure is down to 13 percent. <br /><br />
As we approach the 50th anniversary of Medicare this summer, The Commonwealth Fund is launching a new series of publications to assess its historic accomplishments, examine its most pressing challenges, and explore options for strengthening and improving the program for current and future beneficiaries.<br />
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The first paper in our series, <em>Medicare: 50 Years of Ensuring Coverage and Care, </em>shows how Medicare has helped transform health care in the United States—and even stimulated broader social change as well. Authors Karen Davis, Cathy Schoen, and Farhan Bandeali also describe the current state of the program, assess how beneficiaries are faring, and lay out some of the critical demographic, fiscal, and structural issues facing policymakers going forward.<br />
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Also, be sure to see our interactive timeline of Medicare milestones. Read the report