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Celebrating the 52nd Anniversary of Medicare

When Medicare was signed into law on July 30th, 1965 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, it changed the lives of elderly Americans for the better. Along with Social Security and Medicaid, it fought off the destitution that so many elderly Americans faced at the time. In Medicare’s first year, 19 million Americans signed up for coverage. Over 50 years later, Medicare remains more popular and effective than ever.

In fact, the two-thirds of U.S. health care costs funded by the government are generally the most popular and efficient parts of our health care system. Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs achieve significant efficiencies even while serving some of the most vulnerable and expensive populations, while for-profit insurers are less popular and far less efficient, despite generally covering younger and healthier enrollees.

An improved Medicare-for-All system would allow us to expand Medicare to every American and to improve access to services for everyone. It would also allow us to address the three key pillars of health care: access, cost, and quality. We currently spend more, per person, than any other country in the world, even with nearly 30 million Americans uninsured. As the experience of other countries shows, we can’t bring costs down until everyone has access to quality care.

Covering all Americans under Medicare-for-All means access to care throughout a person’s life. It would be more humane and mean improved prevention, earlier detection of acute and chronic illnesses, and better access to early treatment. It would also allow improved efficiency, because we could study which treatments work well and are the most economical. Under Medicare-for-All, our health care system would focus on patients and their well-being instead of corporate profits.

Our health care system must be reformed if we are to improve Americans’ lives and bring down health care costs in the long run. We have wasted billions of dollars on inefficient and overpriced care while countless people have died or been driven to bankruptcy by our system. There can be no doubt, Medicare-for-All is the best way forward for our nation.

If you are interested in joining the fight for Medicare for all, please check out the Campaign For Guaranteed Healthcare at https://campaignforguaranteedhealthcare.org/ or @Campaign4Health on Twitter.

Photo courtesy Molly Adams/Flickr/CC By 2.0