Protect Medicare as It Matures

Today, on the occasion of Medicare’s 50th anniversary, supporters of the venerated health plan will gather on Capitol Hill to lobby for its protection. 

It seems absurd that Medicare, which has helped millions of Americans and stands to help millions more, needs protection.

Yet, a half century after it was signed into law, Republicans in Congress continue to wage war on the social insurance program. 

Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made names for themselves attacking Medicare and other social programs, including Medicaid and Social Security. 

House Republicans used Ryan’s ideas in a proposed budget to try to privatize Medicare and repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Now, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is calling for an end to Medicare, saying that he wants to “phase-out this program, Medicare, for others and move to a new system…” 

Despite these attacks, the bottom line remains that older and disabled Americans need Medicare—and what is more, they’ve earned it.

Medicare is a social benefit program that Americans pay for with deductions from every paycheck during their working years. 

When older Americans retire and confront high health care costs, they are protected by Medicare insurance.  Medicare saves the elderly from poverty.  Few elderly retired people would be able to afford the massive cost of private health insurance.

Since its enactment in 1965, Medicare has proved to be one of the most successful government programs ever legislated, providing health insurance to more than 48 million elderly and disabled Americans. 

The millions of people enrolled in Medicare, Democrats and Republicans alike, reject privatizing a system that is working well. 

On July 30, Medicare supporters will march in Washington to remind Congress that Americans like Medicare the way it is. As they celebrate its birthday, they hope to shut down talk of privatizing this beloved program.

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