BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, today joined AARP Maryland, Baltimore City officials and local seniors at the Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging for a rally to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Senator Cardin, joined by AARP Maryland state director Hank Greenberg and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana S. Wen, hailed the transformative program that has touched the lives of millions of older Americans and those with disabilities.
“In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson inspired Congress to pass bipartisan legislation creating Medicare. Because of that legislation, 54 million seniors and people with disabilities currently are guaranteed health care benefits,” said Senator Cardin. “Just as President Johnson recognized the need to create Medicare a half-century ago, I recognize the need to protect the program today and will continue working across the aisle to guarantee Medicare’s quality, solvency and future security.”
“Medicare represents health security for all Americans,” said AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg. “For 50 years, AARP has advocated for strengthening and improving the Medicare program that is so critical to the health of tens of millions of people today and to future generations. In Maryland, Medicare covers 927,000 people today.”
“Before Medicare, one of every two seniors had no health coverage whatsoever. The out-of-pocket costs for seniors’ health care were more than 50 percent. Seniors were more likely to live in poverty than any other age group of Americans. All that has changed, and it has changed in large part because of Medicare,” said Senator Cardin. “In Medicare’s 50-year history, we’ve seen its continual improvement. What started as coverage for basic injuries and illnesses has now become a wellness insurance program where preventative health care services not only covered, but promoted. During Medicare’s life, we’ve seen an evolution of health care services for our seniors in which we’ve gone from many being completely without coverage to one where blanket health services are provided for all. That’s why I’ll keep fighting to ensure that Medicare gets the resources it needs to continue its evolution, so that it can serve America’s seniors long into the future.”