Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement to commemorate the anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid:
“On this day in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. On that day, our country made access to health care a reality for low income Americans, young people with disabilities and everyone 65 or older. The promises of these programs—guaranteed access to health care, predictable costs, and improved quality of life—are as important today as they were in 1965.
“Before 1965, it was difficult for people to get the health insurance coverage they needed. Today, almost 50 million Americans have access to quality health care through Medicare. Traditional Medicare is a model program that operates more efficiently than private insurance. In recent years, the growth in health care costs has slowed and Medicare spending projections have dramatically improved. These trends are expected to continue as more of the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
"The importance of Medicaid has never been clearer. Today, it provides essential health insurance to more than 60 million people, including 31 million children. It is the largest source of coverage for long term care and nursing homes. The expansion of this critical program means more efficient preventive care and fewer sky-high health care bills for low income Americans.
“On the 48th anniversary of Medicare, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is committed to protecting Medicare and Medicaid from those who seek to dismantle them. We must build on the success of these historic initiatives, as well as the momentum generated by the Affordable Care Act, until American health care is universally accessible, affordable, and the highest quality in the world. All Americans deserve the same peace of mind that today’s Medicare enrollees have. We urge Congress to make Medicare accessible to all."