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Obama marks 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid


Last updated 8/4/2015 at Noon

Special to The Record

President Obama marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid Thursday by saying the U.S. should do more to expand and improve health care for all Americans, including the law he signed in 2010.

"We must recognize that this work, though begun a half-century ago and continued over the decades that have followed, is not yet complete," Obama said in a proclamation. "For too many, quality, affordable health care is still out of reach -- and we must recommit to finishing this important task."

The Medicare and Medicaid laws, signed by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965, are "cornerstones of the fundamental belief that in America, health care is a right and not a privilege," Obama said.

The president extolled the health care law signed in 2010, and said it is still being put into effect.

"On the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, let us not be content with the progress we have made," he said in the proclamation. "Instead, let us summon the resolve of the generations that came before us and recommit to advancing this noble cause."

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For 50 years, these two programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation, according to the site.

Though Medicare and Medicaid started as basic insurance programs for Americans who didn’t have health insurance, the programs have changed over the years to provide more and more Americans with access to the quality and affordable health care they need.

This summer, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mark the anniversary of these programs by recognizing the ways in which these programs have transformed the nation’s health care system over the past five decades. They’ll also look to the future and explore ways to keep Medicare and Medicaid strong for the next 50 years, by building a smarter and healthier system so that these programs will continue as the standard bearers for coverage, quality and innovation in American health care.

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