The Commonwealth Fund: ‘Medicare At 50 Years’

By  //  August 10, 2015

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Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the law creating Medicare, the first comprehensive government-supported health insurance program for older Americans.

In celebration of Medicare’s 50th anniversary, The Commonwealth Fund is offering Medicare at 50 Years, a series now available in its entirety as a free e-book in two formats, including a download for your Kindle or other e-reader.

LBJ signing bill for Medicare 1965

At the 1965 bill signing, President Johnson hands a pen to former President Harry S. Truman, with Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Bess Truman. (Image courtesy of LBJ Library)

The series traces the evolution of Medicare and its major accomplishments over the past 50 years, examines how the Affordable Care Act is helping to reform Medicare, and explores the key issues confronting the program and policy options for addressing them.

The Medicare at 50 Years e-book includes all six papers in a comprehensive Commonwealth Fund series, each one authored by nationally recognized experts in Medicare and health policy:

  • Medicare: 50 Years of Ensuring Coverage and Care
  • The Affordable Care Act and Medicare: How the Law Is Changing the Program and the Challenges That Remain
  • Medicare Payment Reform: Aligning Incentives for Better Care
  • Modernizing Medicare’s Benefit Design and Low-Income Subsidies to Ensure Access and Affordability
  • Serving Older Adults with Complex Care Needs: A New Benefit Option for Medicare
  • Predictable Unpredictability: The Problem with Basing Medicare Policy on Long-Term Financial Forecasting

The e-book also includes a year-by-year history of the program entitled 50 Years of Medicare: How Did We Get Here?, which chronicles the history of Medicare from the early days of its conceptual principles to its inception in 1965 to today.

ABOVE VIDEO: The Commonwealth Fund looks at Medicare’s history and future.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.


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