Medicare : A Federally Administered Health Insurance Program

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Medicare is a federally administered health insurance program that was started in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, taking effect in 1966. The Medicare program was aimed at aiding the high percentage of elderly individuals who were without health insurance coverage and thus improve their health. Originally, Medicare provided health insurance coverage for retirees and their spouses 65 years and older. However, in 1972 Richard Nixon signed the first change to Medicare, allowing for certain disabled persons under the age of 65 to participate in the program. Additionally, Nixon’s changes allowed anybody diagnosed with kidney failure who required dialysis or an organ transplant to receive coverage under the program.
In 2003, President George W. Bush signed a bill called the “Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act” which provided an optional prescription drug benefit plan. Prescription drugs have come a long way since 1965, meaning that they are much more effective today than ever before and provide greater life-enhancing benefits than ever before. The Medicare program therefore had to be reformed as a result of this additional legislation to allow for access to needed medications while trying to minimize the risk of high expenditures for those affected individuals. The program was reformed once more in 2010, with the aim of attempting to keep the costs low while also increasing the revenue earned by Medicare. Medicare is actually made up of

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