U.S. Government Begins Medicare Program (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: A federal health insurance program, first championed by President Harry S. Truman and propelled to adoption by President Lyndon B. Johnson, began to provide services to 19 million Americans over the age of sixty-five.
Health Care for the Elderly
On July 1, 1966, Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, titled Health Insurance for the Aged and Disabled and commonly called Medicare, began delivery of health services to elderly Americans to complement their Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability benefits.
In 1883, Germany was the first nation to adopt a government insurance program. By 1911, almost every European nation had some kind of a tax-supported health insurance program. The United States maintained a business-oriented medical system with services delivered by private doctors and with fees paid by private-sector insurance companies or by individuals.
During the Great Depression, medical reformers believed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal might include a government insurance program. When the President’s Committee on Economic Security designed what became the Social Security Act of 1935, health insurance was not included, primarily because of opposition from the American Medical Association. Several liberal politicians, especially Senator Robert Ferdinand Wagner of New York, Senator James Edward Murray of Wyoming, and Representative John David...
(The entire section is 1048 words.)
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