On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to Medicare and Medicaid. The original Medicare program included Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).

What was life like for seniors before Medicare? In 1962, nearly half of everyone over the age of 65 had no private health insurance; a Blue Cross “State 65” insurance plan cost $600 per year, or approximately 25% of an average senior’s annual income. More than 25% of all seniors went without medical care because of the cost; between 9% and 16% of seniors went to charitable organizations to get their medical costs paid. Today, 99.9% of all Americans over the age of 65 have health insurance through Medicare, and the vast majority pays $0 in Medicare premiums. In 1962, the private insurance plans had limited coverage: they paid 50% or less of the hospital costs, and did not cover lab work, x-rays, etc. A policy to cover surgery required additional premiums. Today, Medicare pays 80% of all these costs.

Mark Berg is a community activist in Adams County and a proud Liberal. His email address is

(1) comment

James Rife

"If that’s socialized medicine, bring it on." --Dumbest statement I've seen yet from Mark. I guess he doesn't realize that it's a rationed system with just as many haves and have nots as the current one, with the same types of nameless, faceless bureaucrats who run the VA blindly making healthcare decisions based on pure numbers.

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