How Medicare Both Salved and Scarred American Healthcare
The 52-Year-Old Federal Program's Successes Reflect a Complex Legacy
Before Congress passed Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 millions of elderly Americans lacked health insurance. They could not afford to go to the hospital, nor could they cover the cost of a physician. Medical breakthroughs ranging from antibiotics to new surgical procedures kept increasing the cost of health care, but the elderly were left out in the cold, and were unable to buy the insurance that was being given to workers in manufacturing jobs.
For them, just going to the hospital …