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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Bill on this date in 1965

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On June 30th, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare Bill into law, making health insurance available to elderly Americans.  This piece of legislation was one of many of Johnson’s focus when it comes to creating a “great society” that highlighted the importance of improving the well-being of all Americans, especially those who were discriminated against and underprivileged in our communities.

President Johnson signed the law at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, and President Johnson gave credit to former President Truman on that day by stating that “Medicare all started with the man from Independence [Missouri].”  President Truman was the first president to endorse the need for a national health insurance program.  In 1945, President Truman proposed a policy that would provide physician and hospital insurance for working-aged Americans and their families.  Though President Truman’s policy was defeated, he continued to support the need for such an initiative to be established.

On that day in 1965, President Johnson presented former President Truman, and the former First Lady Bess Truman, with the first Medicare cards, and President Truman became the first Medicare beneficiary in the country.

Since the establishment of Medicare and other social security programs during the 1960s, the poverty rates for elderly Americans have dropped substantially; however, in the 21st century, the current issue is how to keep such programs viable as the aging population is living longer and healthcare costs are skyrocketing at astonishing rates.

I, for one, am very thankful for the creation of the Medicare Bill, as well as other social safety net programs, because they have greatly affected my livelihood, as well as those I know who are disabled, low-income, and/or elderly, in positive ways.  Though there needs to be improvements to ensure that these programs are effective to those who qualify for them, there is no denying the importance these entities have played to ensure that the elderly, those with disabilities, and low-income Americans have access to adequate healthcare resources and services.

(Featured images:  Courtesy of Pixabay – Lyndon Johnson & Harry Truman.)

President Lyndon Johnson.

President Harry Truman was the first recipient of a Medicare card, and the first Medicare beneficiary in the country. He & his wife received their Medicare cards from President Johnson at the signing of the bill in honor of Truman’s advocacy efforts for national health insurance.

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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