By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on September 12th, 2015
This year marks some major celebrations when you think of programs for Elders in this country. 80 years for Social Security and the Golden Anniversary for the Older Americans Act as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965; however it was a much debated piece of legislation in a variety of forms prior to that historic date! In many ways it may remind you of the debate that continues today about health care coverage in our country and how it should be provided.
Medicare has grown into the nation’s largest healthcare program, covering 55 million Americans over the age of 65 and includes people with certain disabilities.
As lifestyle changes and advances in medicine have helped increase our life expectancy, it also has created a financial challenge for Medicare. When the program was first implemented people were living until 70…today you can add another 10 years to that number.
Within 15 years it’s estimated that 76 million additional baby boomers will be eligible for Medicare, however it’s also estimated that there will not be enough people paying into the system to support the current benefits of the program.
It is not a new or surprising issue—we have known that the Baby Boomers would soon be turning 65 in very large numbers—what we did not know was how to begin to find good options that could keep the program in place and honor the true mission of Medicare. With the 50th anniversary this year, there is more discussion around possible options and some are saying the future for the program is beginning to look brighter. Click here to read one example of that optimism.
To mark this milestone occasion, The American Society on Aging (ASA) devoted its Summer 2015 quarterly journal to the topic of Medicare. It explores the past, present and future of this important program. Click here to read more.