Medicare: The United States' First Medical Social Insurance Program

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Merriam-Webster dictionary defines social insurance as, “protection of the individual against economic hazards (as unemployment, old age, or disability) in which the government participates or enforces the participation of employers and affected individuals” (1). The United States government operates several national social insurance programs. Medicare is the United States’ first medical social insurance program. This program was designed to provide health insurance to the elderly and protect them from financial hardship due to illness. A thorough investigation of this program reveals the overall history, financial cost, and the total effect that it has had on the healthcare system. The idea of a national healthcare plan was first introduced in 1945 by President Harry Truman. Although President Truman was unsuccessful in creating a government administered healthcare program, he was successful in bringing attention to the issue of healthcare in the United States. In 1965 the United States’ Congress passed a bill approving the Medicare program. This program was designed to allow the country to provide elderly citizens access to affordable medical care. This bill was signed into law a few days later by the 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson. After signing this bill President Johnson stated, “We marvel not simply at the passage of this bill, but that it took so many years to pass it.”(Forty Years of Medicare 1). Finally, twenty years after President Truman first proposed a
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