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Newsletter Article


Celebrating 50 Years of Medicare and Medicaid

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Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the law creating Medicare, the first comprehensive government-supported health insurance program for older Americans, and Medicaid, which provided basic coverage for low-income children and their parents. In the half-century since this groundbreaking legislation passed, the health and longevity of Americans has dramatically improved, and both programs have evolved to better meet beneficiaries’ needs.The Commonwealth Fund marks the anniversary with the following resources:

  • Medicare at 50 Years, an e-book available online or as a download for your e-reader. Leading experts review Medicare over the past five decades and present policy options for meeting the program’s key challenges. There’s also a timeline showing Medicare’s progression.
  • An ongoing blog series analyzing how Medicaid has transformed from a welfare program into a source of health coverage for millions.
  • Does Medicaid Make a Difference?, an issue brief exploring findings from the 2014 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey.
  • An interactive map that shows Medicaid’s expansion status in each state and highlights the impact of not expanding eligibility. 

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