More than 50 years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act and said, "I'm going to spend the damn money," he said. "I can reduce tanks – but not health."
The story behind Medicare's birth in Independence, Missouri, described here, shows that LBJ called former President Harry Truman "the real father of Medicare". (LBJ signed Medicare in Independence to honor Truman's efforts to create a national health insurance plan.) Truman became the first Medicare subscriber, and Truman's wife Bess received America's second Medicare card ̵
Brief facts about Medicare back then …
- More than 50 percent of the elderly had no health insurance […] before founding Medicare and 35 percent lived in poverty, according to the Center for Medicare Advocacy .
- Immediate Success Medicare came into force in 1966 and more than 19 million people enrolled in the first year, increasing senior citizens' access to doctors and hospitals by a third.
- A Universal Healthcare Model Medicare was originally designed as a stepping stone to universal national health care. The Vietnam War put an end to this idea by abolishing the federal funds that would have required such an initiative.
- A catalyst for the removal of racial segregation. Under Medicare law, hospitals wishing to admit Medicare patients had to accept segregation. More than a thousand were integrated in the first four months.
- A plus for longevity According to the New York Times, life expectancy at age 65 rose five years in the 30 years between 1970 and 2010, although coverage was even more limited than now. Analysts partially attribute the increase to Medicare, which allows people to be treated early.
- A blessing for everyone. Have you ever been treated in the emergency room when you weren't insured? According to a 1985 ruling, emergency departments in every Medicare hospital had to offer basic treatment to all insured or uninsured people.
And now …
- Grow, grow … What started as barebone insurance has developed into a robust program of insurance coverage for seniors with additional benefits over the years: long-term disability insurance (1972), health insurance at home (1980), hospice insurance (1982), prescription drug insurance (2006 – initially only for individuals with private Medicare plans), extended free wellness exams and tests (2010, with the Affordable Care Act) and an end to the denial the coverage of qualified care for chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's due to a patient who does not improve (2012) and finally the permanent cancellation of the annual Medicare year of physiotherapy caps (2018).
- Grown Medicare now covers more than 46 million seniors – that's almost every American senior. Medicare also covers another 9 million disabled people.
- Reviews After the Medicare and Medicaid centers recently introduced nursing home reviews, they are paying attention to the growing number of seniors who want to age on the spot and are implementing a five-star home health care rating system  Medicare.gov . The ratings are based on patient surveys and allow searching by zip code or name.
- Some things are not covered yet. While Medicare made great strides with the addition of Part D in 2006, most beneficiaries are scratching their heads over why this is not the case covering certain benefits that they are used to while they are still in the workforce. Medicare still does not cover hearing aids, dental care, eyesight care or long-term care. Millions of beneficiaries would love to see these benefits added to Medicare.
Medicare in its 54th year – what's coming up?
- New Medicare cards with encrypted member ID numbers – Medicare introduces new ID cards for all beneficiaries. It will take a full 12 months for everyone to get their new card as the cards are gradually being rolled out across the country. However, your social security number will no longer appear on your Medicare card, which will help protect our country's seniors from identity theft.
- Part D Closing the coverage gap in 2019 With the latest budget agreement, a higher budget was effectively ended Costs for branded medication in the gaps. This was achieved a year earlier than planned by increasing the discount of branded drug manufacturers in the gap from 50% to 70% from next year and the percentage that beneficiaries pay for branded drugs in the gap from 30% to 25% was reduced%.
- Medicare Plan F to be discontinued in 2020 – There are 10 standardized Medicare supplements, and for decades the Plan F Directive has been a bestseller because it covers all of your Medicare Part A. and B deductibles, copays and co-insurance. However, this plan will no longer be available  for new participants from 2020. Congress leaders believed that plans to cover the first dollar could encourage people to go to the doctor more often because they had no skin involved. However, people already enrolled in Plan F will be grandfathers.
- New Benefits for Medicare Advantage Plans. As of February 2018, 21 million seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. (Here are some quick facts.) CMS now provides the advantage of "unqualified home support" as an advantage. Non-medical services can include trips to the doctor, portable wheelchair ramps, and other aids. This measure, along with a projected 3.4% average increase in payments to MA plans, is likely to make these plans more popular.
- Wealthier seniors will pay even more for Medicare. The Bipartisan Budget Law will further increase Part B and D premiums for those who earn more than $ 500,000 (individual) or $ 750,000 (married). This corresponds to 85% of the program costs (as opposed to 80%) in 2018.
- Will the Medicare claim age be increased? We have heard less about it, but it could still happen. The Washington Post reported that Medicare's Hospital Trust Fund will run out of money in 2029. Others (thankfully) disagree.
Happy Birthday to Medicare!
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