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What were some of the Great Society programs?

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Quick Answer

Lyndon Johnson's Great Society addressed issues in many areas of life, but as of 2014, three programs from this era that continue are Medicare, Head Start and Urban Renewal. These programs were designed to address education reform, poverty, racial discrimination and health care for seniors.

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When Johnson became president upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy, millions of Americans had completed less than five years of education. In response, the Head Start program began to provide the tools young children needed for greater success in life. Other educational reforms included guaranteed student loans, making obtaining a college education more attainable for the poor.

Medicare addressed the need for health care for seniors. In 1964, over 40 percent of seniors had no health care, and health issues propelled many into poverty. With Medicare, virtually every senior citizen is afforded health coverage. Since the program's inception, the poverty level among seniors has dropped to less than 10 percent.

After World War II, many families that had lived near city centers moved to the suburbs, leaving a trail of urban blight. In response, Johnson created the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD expanded public housing so that people living near city centers could find affordable housing and addressed the growing problem of urban blight.

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