Johnson signs Medicare into law 1965
On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945,had becomethe first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.
The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966. In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.
Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government and paid for in part through payroll taxes. Medicare is currently a source of controversy due to the enormous strain it puts on the federal budget. Throughout its history, the program also has been plagued by fraud–committed by patients, doctors and hospitals–that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, was also signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act.
In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was created to administer Medicare and work with state governments to administer Medicaid. HCFA, which was later renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Baltimore.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1780 Isaac Shelby takes Fort Thicketty, South Carolina
- 2003 Last classic VW Beetle rolls off the line
- 1864 Union forces stopped at the Battle of the Crater
- 1975 Summit meeting in Helsinki begins
- 1994 Man charged in murder of Megan Kanka
- 1971 Fighter jet collides with passenger plane
- 1619 First legislative assembly in America
- 1898 Henry Moore born
- 1945 USS Indianapolis bombed
- 1966 England wins World Cup
- 1974 Watergate affair approaches climax
- 1999 Blair Witch Project released
- 1818 Emily Bronte’s birthday
- 1966 The Troggs take their signature hit, “Wild Thing,” to #1
- 1863 Chief Pocatello signs peace treaty
- 1956 President Eisenhower signs “In God We Trust” into law
- 1976 Bruce Jenner wins decathlon
- 1964 South Vietnamese boats raid islands in the Tonkin Gulf
- 1969 Nixon visits South Vietnam
World War I
- 1915 Battle of Hooge
World War II
- 1943 Hitler gets news of Italy’s imminent defection