WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement in commemoration of the 54th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicaid and Medicare into law.
“As we celebrate the 54th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, let us also celebrate our continued commitment to the fight to provide affordable, quality health care to all Americans.
“On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Social Security Act Amendments, which established Medicare and Medicaid. The original Medicare program included hospital and medical insurance for Americans over the age of 65, while Medicaid was established to help working adults pay for medical services. Today, Medicare provides coverage to nearly 60 million Americans, while Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover over 72 million low-income children and families.
“Over the past five decades, Congress has fought to expand these programs to include more Americans in need – including low-income adults, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and those who require long term medical care. The evolution of these programs has allowed more citizens than ever before to access affordable health care, prescription drugs, and preventive services without having to choose between paying rent and getting the care they deserve.
“In 2010, we passed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which helped strengthen both Medicare and Medicaid. In Maryland alone, the ACA’s Medicaid expansion allowed over 400,000 residents to receive health coverage who were not eligible before. In 2017, nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries received discounts totaling over $26 billion on prescription drugs, according the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Despite these successes, the ACA is still under attack, and so are the lives and coverage of the millions of beneficiaries who rely on it.
“Medicare and Medicaid established a new era of health care – one that has helped close gaps in health disparities and improve health outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens. Even still, there is much more work to be done. On this anniversary, we must pledge to continue to preserve these programs and fight for health care as a human right for all.“