On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid. These programs were created to provide access to health care to those most likely to be uninsured: the elderly (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid). Indeed, a majority of these folks did not have health insurance; and, if they did have access to care through the network of charity hospitals, it was largely limited and stigmatizing.
Today, it is difficult to even imagine our nation without these programs, particularly given the tremendous complexity and cost of care and the level of need as our population ages. The fact is, these programs improve the health and save the lives of countless individuals each year.