When Did the Government Start Providing Medicare?


Quick Answer

The government started providing Medicare to citizens in 1966. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Medicare act into law July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Law. The idea for a health coverage plan for Americans was first initiated by President Harry S.Truman, who was awarded the first Medicare card upon President Johnson's signing of the law.

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Full Answer

Upon its inception, Medicare consisted of two parts: Part A, which provided hospital insurance coverage, and Part B, which was the optional benefit for medical insurance. At its inception, the deductible for Part A was $40. Citizens paid a $3 premium to enroll in Part B. The 1965 budget for Medicare was $10 billion, and 19 millions Americans signed up for Medicare during the first year.

Medicare initially covered people who were age 65 and older, but President Richard Nixon extended the coverage in 1972 to people under the age of 65 who had a long-term disability or end-stage renal disease that prevented them from working.

At the end of 2014, 49,435,610 people were receiving some type of health coverage through a Medicare program. Medicare is a program funded by state and federal governments and partly paid for through payroll taxes.

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