Tag Archives: Medicare-History

Milestones Mark Impact of Major Federal Legislation

An earlier post offered an intro to the plans for commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/category/disability-issues/) There are scores of activities planned for the ADA’s “silver anniversary”, many – certainly not all – are mentioned in that post. One state event that seems particularly inclusive and experiential is the family day set for July 26, sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities. There will be free admission to the Minnesota History Center for all, live music, dancing, film/video and more with ASL interpreters, audio describers, deaf/blind interpreters and open captioning. More at http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/accessibility.

Since that post I have come across several thoughtful and informative posts about ADA, including great information in the most recent issue of Access Press, now free and accessible to all. (Note the location of Access Press newsstands and resolve to read it regularly – if the newspaper isn’t handy, find out how to make this essential resource more accessible in your community.) Also since that post I came across a lovely editorial piece on “the beauty of the Americans with Disabilities Act” posted by Susan Henderson, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. It’s a good read and reminder: https://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/07/10/the-beauty-of-the-americans-with-disabilities-act/

By interesting coincidence, July also marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, officially signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965. Today there are more than 54 million people enrolled in Medicare. In fact, there is a good deal of overlap between these two major federal programs. For example, in 1973 disability coverage under Medicare was introduced for people under 65 with long-term disabilities. Significantly, both ADA and Medicare represent the culmination of political “movements” – both represent federal action with profound and permanent impact on virtually every individual, family and institution.

As with ADA, recognitions and celebrations of Medicare/Medicaid are popping up everywhere – in health care facilities, senior centers, places of worship and more:

For armchair celebrants there are great online tools.

  • The January 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine carried a thorough and illuminating history of “Medicare at 50 – Origins and Evolution.” http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1411701. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about the legislation and didn’t even know to ask. The article is worthy of serious study and discussion, particularly in light of ongoing political forces and fomentations.
  • Earlier this month the New York Times Editorial Board published a helpful discussion of Medicare and Medicaid, with up-to-date information re. the relationship with the Affordable Care Act. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/opinion/medicare-and-medicaid-at-50.html?_r=0
  • The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation offers a history of the road to Medicare – of particular interest, perhaps, to those who’ve lived that history. http://kff.org/medicaid/report/medicaid-at-50/
  • Kaiser Family Foundation has also updated a video that traces the evolution of the legislation over the past half-century.
  • The Center for Medicare Advocacy has published a powerful resource entitled “Medicare Matters: 50 Insights for Medicare’s 50th Anniversary” http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/50-insights-for-medicares-50th-anniversary/ The informative narrative offers a great review of the powerful impact of Medicare.   Implicit is the parallel impact of recently passed federal legislation.

At the other end of the mobility continuum the Minnesota Nurses Association is sponsoring a Medicare 50th Birthday BBQ Bash on Thursday, July 30, 5-9 p.m. at Highland Park Picnic Shelter, 1227 Montreal Avenue in St. Paul.  It’s free and open to all who want to celebrate the life and legacy of Medicare. Check with MNA at 651 414 2800.

Finally, if you happen to be in DC on Saturday, August 1, fill your water bottle and join the Healthcare Justice March, 10:00-Noon at Potomac Park on the National Mall. The National Nurses United and the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Healthcare are joining forces to commemorate Medicare at 50. More at https://www.facebook.com/events/1571769846-427625,

Too often there is a disconnect between the public and political negotiations inside the Beltway. Both ADA and Medicare/Medicaid are powerful examples of what happens when the body politic and its representatives communicate and create together. Reflecting on the past half century of systemic change reminds us how political and social forces shape the daily lives of everyone. It’s worth the effort to reflect on examples of how the system did, should – and could – work to create institutions that serve the lives of every American.

Update:  http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/24/ada-25-years-after-landmark-civil-rights-law-some-wonder-wheres-equality