A Brief History of Medicare and Medicaid
Groom yourself for trivia night with this brief history of Medicare and Medicaid. Original Medicare, or what is known as Parts A and B (hospital and medical coverage), is a relatively new feature in the United States. It was signed into law on July 30, 1965, by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Of course, changes have been made since then. In 1972, Medicare was expanded to cover people with disabilities, people with end-stage disease requiring dialysis or kidney transplants, and people who select Medicare at age 65 and older. Additionally, more benefits, such as prescription drug benefits have been added.
At first, Medicaid only offered benefits to a certain group of people: those receiving cash assistance from the federal government. Medicaid has changed since then as well, as a much larger group is covered now, including: low-income families, pregnant women, people with disabilities regardless of age, and those who need long-term care. Under these newer laws, states have the responsibility and ability to change their Medicaid programs to best cover their vulnerable populations, thus ensuring the best use of the federal and tax dollars that cover Medicaid.
In 2003, the largest change was made to the Medicare and Medicaid program in over 38 years: The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Part C became available under the MMA. This act also expanded Medicare to include an optional prescription drug benefit, known as Part D. Medicare Part D went into effect in 2006.
Since 2006, the largest change to Medicare and Medicaid has come with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA created the health insurance marketplace and subsidized health insurance for millions of Americans. As a result, Medicare and Medicaid have been able to better coordinate how they cover their beneficiaries and provide quality health care services.
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