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Medicare

Happy Birthday, Medicare!

Rodney Brooks
|
November 4, 2021

More than 50 years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, saying at the time, “I’ll spend the goddamn money,” he said. “I may cut back on tanks – but not on health.”

The story behind Medicare’s birth in Independence, Missouri, detailed here, reveals that LBJ called former President Harry Truman “The real daddy of Medicare.” (LBJ signed Medicare into law in Independence specifically to honor Truman’s effort to create national health insurance.) Truman became the first Medicare enrollee and Truman’s wife Bess got America’s second Medicare card – at the time, the monthly Part B premium was $3.

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