The History of Medicare

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed wage controls on companies preventing them from offering higher pay when competing for workers. The companies overcame this obstacle by offering richer benefits to workers. One of the most valuable of those benefits was health insurance. This encouraged many women to join the workforce.

President Harry S. Truman observed this and noticed the improvement in people’s lives and productivity when they received good medical coverage. After the War he tried for many years to establish a National Health Insurance Plan, and although he was not successful he inspired professionals in the Social Security Administration to work on a medical program for people aged 65 and older. This evolved into "Medicare" which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law in 1965. Former President Truman was the first to enroll.

As Medicare was not intended to pay the entire cost of medical services, something was required to fill the gap in coverage, so insurance policies called Medicare Supplements were developed. As time went by Medicare paid less and less of the costs, resulting in the development of improved supplements that covered the ever increasing gap. Today the most popular supplement is Plan F

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare PART A paid a portion of the cost of hospital, skilled nursing and blood.

Medicare PART B paid a portion of the cost of doctor office visits, the emergency room, surgeon, anesthetist, radiology, pathology, ambulance, outpatient hospital care and doctor visits in the hospital,

Over the years, the Medicare program continued to evolve and became available to more people.

Additional benefits were developed and added to the program:

1972 Chiropractic services, speech therapy and physical therapy. Disabled people under 65 became eligible for benefits.

1982 Hospice benefits.

1984 Federal Employees including “The President”, Members of Congress and the Federal Judiciary were added as qualified recipients.

1989 Mammograms and Pap Smears.

2006 Part D Prescription Drugs


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