DemDaily: What is Medicare and Medicaid?

August 1, 2017

Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965, creating Medicare & Medicaid

Sunday was the 52nd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, the two government-run, social insurance programs that provide health care to the most vulnerable of our citizens - the elderly, poor and disabled.

For over 50 years Medicare and Medicaid have been a a critical part of economic security for Americans, but under President Trump those crucial benefits are in great danger.


Medicaid and Medicare where a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society domestic program, which launched in 1964 and focused on elimination of poverty and racial injustice.

On July 30, 1965, Johnson signed The Social Security Act of 1965, which introduced Medicaid and Medicare into law and, for the first time, made health care available to millions of older and lower-income Americans.

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for those 65 or older, or who have a severe disability or certain illnesses, regardless of income. 
Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage for low-income families, the disabled, those with long-term care needs, and pregant women, regardless of age.

How Does It Work?
Medicare is a single-payer, national social health care program administered by the federal government and 30-50 contracted private US insurance companies.

It is funded by general revenue and a payroll tax, premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries who pay into the system. On average, Medicare covers about half of the health care charges for those enrolled.

Today Medicare provides health insurance to approximately 58 million people 65 or older, disabled and youth with illnesses.

Medicaid is a means-tested social health care program that is jointly funded by federal and state governments, and managed by the states. States are not required to participate in the program but all have since 1982.

Each state administers its own program while the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the state-run programs and establishes requirements for service delivery, quality, funding, and eligibility standards.

It is the largest source of funded medical and health-related services for US citizens and legal permanent residents, providing free health insurance to 74 million low-income and disabled people.

Under the President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was expanded to include more preventative services and lower drug costs, but President Trump and the GOP have made repeal of the ACA a relentless priority.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Trump's original "repeal and replace" healthcare reform legislation, the American Health Care Act, would have gutted Medicaid with roughly $880 billion in cuts.

"Medicaid and Medicare embody the American people's belief that health care is a right for all people. And just as a Democratic president signed these programs into law, the Democratic Party will continue to defend and strengthen them at every turn."-- DNC Chair Tom Perez on the Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicaire

Don't wait until September to let your voice be heard!



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Kimberly Scott


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Sources: Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (, Wikipedia, Business Insider, The Hill

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