WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.

“Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation to start two of the strongest anti-poverty initiatives in history. When we created Medicare and Medicaid, we made a simple commitment to Americans around the country: if you can’t afford the medical care you need, your neighbors are here to help you out. Today, more than 100 million people are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. And while Medicare is providing health care more efficiently than the private sector, Medicaid is doing its part by keeping low income individuals out of expensive emergency rooms.

“But the millions of people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for financial security and high-quality health coverage are under attack. On-going efforts to privatize Medicare and limit benefits and access to Medicaid by our Republican colleagues will hurt our economy and the American families that need care most.  

“The Americans enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid are diverse – they are children, people with disabilities, working people and our grandparents. In order to ensure these people are covered for the next 50 years, we must invest in the health of our neighbors by protecting and expanding Medicare and Medicaid.

“President Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid because affordable health care is a right. Now is the time to recommit to ensuring that no senior retires in poverty or without the care they need, and no child goes without access to the care to get them started in life. We urge states that haven’t to expand Medicaid and we call on Congress to expand Medicare and protect the wellbeing of working families for another 50 years.”