medicare history timeline
- More benefits, like prescription drug coverage, have been offered.
At first, Medicaid gave medical insurance to people getting cash assistance. Today, a much larger group is covered:
A number of different plans have been introduced that would raise the age of Medicare eligibility.     Some have argued that, as the population ages and the ratio of workers to retirees increases, programs for the elderly need to be reduced. Since the age at which Americans can retire with full Social Security benefits is rising to 67, it is argued that the age of eligibility for Medicare should rise with it (though people can begin receiving reduced Social Security benefits as early as age 62).
Medicare differs from private insurance available to working Americans in that it is a social insurance program. Social insurance programs provide statutorily guaranteed benefits to the entire population (under certain circumstances, such as old age or unemployment). These benefits are financed in significant part through universal taxes. In effect, Medicare is a mechanism by which the state takes a portion of its citizens’ resources to provide health and financial security to its citizens in old age or in case of disability, helping them cope with the enormous, unpredictable cost of health care. In its universality, Medicare differs substantially from private insurers, which must decide whom to cover and what benefits to offer to manage their risk pools and ensure that their costs do not exceed premiums. [ citation needed ]
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From a major period of reform in the 1960s to the present-day influences of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare has evolved into the largest healthcare provider in our nation for older Americans. For 49 years, Medicare has passed significant milestones to become what it is today. Follow us back in time to learn the roots of Medicare and how it has changed in legislation and policy.
In 2001, the Healthcare Finance Administration became the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, while continuing to administer programs. In 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) made the most significant changes to Medicare to date and resulted in Medicare Part D. Part D is voluntary and makes outpatient prescription drug coverage affordable for nearly all Americans aged 65 and up. Part D is commonly explained with the “Donut Hole” metaphor, which describes the coverage gap, or limit, on what the drug plan will cover.
The Maclean’s Health Report: How 16 Canadian cities rate in quality of health care
This magazine cover reflects Canadians’ continued obsession with the quality of health care.
Courtesy of Maclean’s, Vol. 112, No. 23 (June 7, 1999), cover.