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July 30th — 50th Anniversary of Medicare — 55+ million Americans


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CHICAGO: 50th Anniversary of Medicare — over 55 million Americans covered by Medicare. The progress during last 50 years is incredible. Current enrollment is gigantic! The number of new enrollments is rapidly growing.


As Medicare and Medicaid celebrate their 50th anniversary protecting the health and well-being of millions of seniors, people with disabilities and low-income individuals, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released on July 28, 2015 an updated Medicare state-by-state enrollment numbers, showing that more than 55 million Americans are covered by Medicare.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law creating Medicare and Medicaid on July 30, 2015. The acts guaranteed health insurance for the elderly and the poor.  The signing ceremony was held at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. President Johnson initiative was a way of paying tribute to President Harry Truman who had worked to establish similar law during his Presidency. It required several more years to reach consensus among Nation leaders to establish such a complex policy.

Photo Courtesy: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum/NARA

The photo shows President Lyndon Johnson giving former President Harry S. Truman a pen that was used to sign a bill and the first Medicare card. Behind Truman, is his wife Bess Truman, as well as Lady Bird Johnson (in blue) and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.


The history was made on July 30, 1965 by President Johnson.  This was a great foundation for building a lasting legacy.  It is very interesting to notice the expansion of the Medicare program since its inception, in last several decades. „In 1966, approximately 19.1 million Americans were covered by Medicare. In 2012, there were nearly 52 million beneficiaries covered by Medicare”.

The number of Americans covered by Medicare health benefits is higher that the total populations of many countries in the world. The numbers of new beneficiaries are growing.

Authors of the recent CMS report emphasize rapid expansion of Medicare enrollments in last three years. „Today’s enrollment numbers represent a three million person increase during the last three years as the Baby Boom generation has started to retire. Medicare beneficiaries depend on the program to provide critical health services such as preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings, hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies like wheelchairs and prescription drugs”.

„Over the last 50 years, Medicare has become part of the fabric of our communities, protecting the well-being and financial security of millions of American families as they age or if they become disabled. In doing so, Medicare has kept up with dramatic demographic changes and led the charge toward improving health care delivery,” said Andy Slavitt, CMS acting administrator. „As we preserve and advance Medicare for future generations, we are focused on helping build a better system with smarter spending that keeps people healthier.”

Please check CMS statistics state by state and state-by-state Medicaid enrollments.These numbers are staggering: „As of May 2015, over 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with 12.8 million more gaining coverage since 2013. More information is available on Medicaid.gov.

This is a link to a chart that outlines enrollment as of May 2015 in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Part D (prescription drug plans)

@ Andrew (Andrzej) Mikolajczyk

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