50 Insights for Medicare's 50th Anniversary

As part of our recognition of Medicare’s first 50 years, we present 50 insights, large and small, known and less known, into the impact Medicare has had on our country.

1965-07-30 00:00:00

1. Medicare Was Key to Integrating Hospitals

Most people know Medicare as one of the most successful social programs in our country’s history for its impact on the health of our older citizens and those with disabilities. But did you know that the Medicare program was key to integrating hospitals?

1965-07-30 10:00:00

2. Medicare Reduced Poverty

Medicare has not only provided access to care for people who could not get private insurance, it has also significantly reduced poverty.

1965-07-31 00:00:00

3. Medicare Saves Lives

By Connie Cherba, Guardian for Medicare Beneficiary, Iowa

1965-08-01 10:00:00

4. Medicare’s Future Was Strengthened by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

By Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

1965-08-02 00:00:00

5. Medicare is a Sacred Trust that Must Be Preserved

By Former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd

1965-08-02 10:00:00

6. Medicare Helps People with Disabilities

By Congressman Joe Courtney (2d Dis. CT)

1965-08-03 10:00:00

7. Medicare Beneficiaries Are Remarkable

We are continuously amazed at the courage and empathy of our clients. The plaintiffs in Jimmo v. Sebelius, a class action lawsuit, filed by the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2011 and settled in 2013, are remarkable examples of this.

1965-08-04 00:00:00

8. Medicare is at the Heart of America’s Character

By Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (3rd Dis. CT)

1965-09-30 10:00:00

9. Medicare is Good. It Could Have Been Even Better.

Many people outside the Medicare and health care world don’t know that in 1989 Medicare was briefly, dramatically altered. The “Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act,” (MCCA) was the most significant revision to Medicare since its inception. The law increased the amount of coverage available in all care settings, established limits to beneficiary cost-sharing, and added new benefits. Unfortunately, MCCA also added a new financing model; this proved to be the law’s undoing.

1965-10-04 00:00:00

10. Medicare Helps Older and Disabled People Stay Home

Medicare home health coverage can mean the difference between an individual staying home or becoming a nursing home resident. While the Medicare skilled nursing facility benefit is very limited, for beneficiaries who meet the coverage criteria, the home care benefit can be an ongoing Godsend.

1965-11-30 10:00:00

11. Medicare Helps Low Income People

By Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director, Justice in Aging

1966-10-04 00:00:00

12. Medicare Is a Model for All Health Insurance

By Harry Ting, PhD, Health Economist

1967-11-30 10:00:00

13. Medicare Increasingly Benefits Private Industry

At the Center for Medicare Advocacy's "National Voices of Medicare Summit" (March 20, 2015), three Medicare leaders presented their perspectives on Medicare's promise and challenges. All spoke to the value of Medicare for its intended beneficiaries: older and disabled people. They also noted the resources and funds Medicare spends on providers and private industries.

1968-07-30 10:00:00

14. Medicare Opened Doors to Care – Let’s Not Really Celebrate Until They’re Opened for Everyone

By Frank Miata, Medicare Beneficiary

1969-07-30 10:00:00

15. Medicare Helps People at the End of Life

By Terry Berthelot, JD, MSW

1970-07-30 10:00:00

16. Medicare Was a Precursor to Current Debates about the Role of Government

By David Lipschutz, Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney

1971-07-30 10:00:00

17. Medicare Must Help People Communicate

By Steve Gleason, the Gleason Initiative Foundation

1972-07-30 10:00:00

18. Medicare Doesn't Cover Long-Term Nursing Home Care

Medicare is a wonderful program. It provides important health insurance for millions of older and disabled people. But, contrary to common belief, Medicare does not cover long-term care in skilled nursing facilities (often referred to as nursing homes).

1973-07-30 10:00:00

19. Medicare Has Options: Know What You Need... and What You Want

By Matt Shepard

1974-07-30 10:00:00

20. Medicare is There When People Need it Most

By A Medicare Beneficiary

1975-07-30 10:00:00

21. Medicare is One of the Greatest Achievements of the 20th Century

By Gill Deford, Director of Litigation, Center for Medicare Advocacy

1976-07-30 10:00:00

22. Medicare Needs an Alert Watchdog

By Douglas Gould, President, Douglas Gould and Company

1977-07-30 10:00:00

23. Medicare Should Fill Gaps in Coverage for Oral Health and Other Key Health Services

By Judith Stein, Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy

1978-07-30 10:00:00

24. Medicare and Prescription Drug Coverage

When Medicare began to provide coverage for prescription drugs almost 10 years ago, under Part D, millions of people who previously had no drug coverage were able to access needed medications. By any measure, the drug benefit has helped many people. While drug coverage was a key missing ingredient in Medicare coverage until then, the way drug coverage is provided in Medicare raises ongoing concerns, particularly as some would view it as a model for other Medicare coverage and delivery systems.

1979-07-30 10:00:00

25. Medicare Can Be a Source for LGBT Inclusive Medical Care

By LGBT Aging Advocacy (Connecticut) and CT TransAdvocacy Coalition

1980-07-30 10:00:00

26. Medicare Needs a Timely Way for Patients to Appeal Hospice Denials

By Howard Back, a Medicare Beneficiary from California

1981-07-30 10:00:00

27. Medicare Covers Preventive Care

Medicare is not just an acute care benefit. It covers skilled maintenance nursing and therapy; in some cases it covers long-term home care. Also, importantly, Medicare covers many preventive services, which, when utilized, can help limit the need for more costly future care.

1982-07-30 10:00:00

28. Medicare Makes Health Care Affordable

By R.B., a Medicare Beneficiary from New Mexico

1983-07-30 10:00:00

29. Medicare Needs to Address Enrollment Confusion and Notify People When it’s Time to Enroll

Our country has a patchwork of different types of health insurance coverage, including individual insurance policies, employer-based insurance coverage plans available through the new Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare – the country’s flagship insurance program. While some people go without health insurance altogether, others have different types of coverage over the course of their lives, some people may even have more than one type at a time.

1984-07-30 10:00:00

30. Medicare Provides Hope for Patients and Families

By L. W., the Spouse of a Medicare Beneficiary from Florida

1985-07-30 10:00:00

31. Medicare Gives Freedom, Flexibility and Choice

By Mary Ashkar, Senior Attorney, Center for Medicare Advocacy

1986-07-30 10:00:00

32. Medicare is a Success – And Americans Are Willing to Pay for It

By Marilyn Moon Institute Fellow, American Institutes for Research, and Center for Medicare Advocacy Luminary

1987-07-30 10:00:00

33. Medicare is a Private-Public Partnership

Most people think Medicare is a government program. That’s only partly true. While Congress created Medicare, and continues to develop Medicare coverage and appeal rules, decisions to pay claims are actually made by private companies. The government does not make those decisions. This was one of the compromises made in order to pass Medicare in 1965 – and the public-private partnership continues to date.

1988-07-30 10:00:00

34. Medicare Helps People Help Others

By P. B., a Medicare Beneficiary from Colorado

1989-07-30 10:00:00

35. Medicare Helps Patients Transition from One Care-Setting to Another – But More is Needed

Many healthcare institutions are required to provide discharge planning for their Medicare patients as part of their “Conditions of Participation” in the Medicare program. Under the Medicare program, discharge planning services are required for hospital inpatients, long-term care hospital and rehabilitation inpatients, skilled nursing facility residents, patients in swing-beds, and hospice patients. Discharge planning services may include:

1990-07-30 10:00:00

36. Medicare Provides Silent Support for Generations

By an Anonymous Beneficiary from Iowa

1991-07-30 10:00:00

37. Medicare Should Be For Everyone

By V.W., a Medicare Beneficiary from Colorado

1992-07-30 10:00:00

38. Medicare Makes Hard Things a Bit Easier

By Jenny Gore Dwyer, Washington State

1993-07-30 10:00:00

39. Medicare Offers Benefits That People Can Count On

One of Medicare’s key strengths, compared with most other types of health insurance, is that its benefits are “defined.” The Medicare law, regulations and rules set out the minimum scope of benefits that the program must cover and outlines the out-of-pocket costs for which beneficiaries are responsible.

1994-07-30 10:00:00

40. Medicare Lets People with Disabilities Live Their Lives

By C.G., California

1995-07-30 10:00:00

41. Medicare's Appeals Process Is an Important Beneficiary Protection that Must Be Fixed

One of the most fundamental rights set out in the Constitution is the right to due process of law when government action harms an individual. “Due process” means both notice and an opportunity to be heard. In other words, individuals are entitled to be informed about a government action, as well as their right to challenge such action.

1996-07-30 10:00:00

42. Medicare Provides Economic Security

By L.S., a Medicare Beneficiary from New York

1997-07-30 10:00:00

43. Medicare Should Be Allowed to Work

By Lisa Hall, Appeals Administrator, Center for Medicare Advocacy

1998-07-30 10:00:00

44. Medicare to the Rescue

By D.C., a Medicare Beneficiary from California

1999-07-30 10:00:00

45. Medicare May Be Helpful in the Event of a Disaster or Emergency

When a Medicare beneficiary lives in an area that has been declared an emergency or disaster by the President, a Governor, or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the usual Medicare rules for coverage and related concerns may be changed in order to assist those in need. Below you will find specific information, if you have further questions, call 1-800-MEDICARE.

2000-07-30 10:00:00

46. Medicare Must Continue to Evolve – Add Coverage for Hearing Aids

By Max Richtman, President & CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

2001-07-30 10:00:00

47. Medicare Should Include Drug Coverage in the Traditional Program (and Negotiate Prices)

By T.P., PhD, a Medicare Beneficiary from Ohio

2002-07-30 10:00:00

48. Medicare Should Properly Cover Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapies

While the Medicare Act covers physical, speech, and occupational therapies in various community-based and facility settings, coverage is often denied or inappropriately limited.

2003-07-30 10:00:00

49. Medicare Beneficiaries are Grateful

A compilation of beneficiary testimonials.

2004-07-30 10:00:00

Medicare is 50!

The 50th anniversary of Medicare has given us an opportunity to reflect on all it has accomplished to advance the health and well-being of families throughout the country. It also reminds us what could have been better – and what could still be improved.

50 Insights for Medicare's 50th Anniversary

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