July 30, 2015

Lujan Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement today on the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965.

“For the past 50 years, Medicare and Medicaid have provided vital health care benefits to millions of Americans, ensuring that the most vulnerable in our communities have access to the care they need.  Through these two landmark programs, seniors, the poor, and people with disabilities have the peace of mind that they will have affordable care.

“These programs have had tremendous success, contributing to the significant decline in the poverty rate among older Americans, from 28 percent in 1966 to 9 percent today.  With one in three children in our country covered through Medicaid and 55 million Americans counting on Medicare, these programs span generations, helping ensure healthier communities throughout the country.

“With the important role Medicare and Medicaid play in the well-being of so many Americans, it is critical that we continue efforts to strengthen these programs.  As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the life of the Medicaid Trust Fund has been extended by 13 years.  We’ve rooted out waste, fraud, and abuse and reinvested those savings back in to Medicare.  The prescription drug donut hole has started to close, saving seniors money on their medication.  And Medicaid has been expanded, providing approximately 200,000 adults and 30,000 children in New Mexico with access to health care.

“As we celebrate the anniversary of these landmark programs, I will continue my efforts to protect Medicare and Medicaid from Republican efforts to privatize and slash them that put insurance companies ahead of seniors, children, and people with disabilities.  For 50 years Medicare and Medicaid have ensured access to health care for those who otherwise were at risk of going without.  From our youngest generation to the Greatest Generation, Medicare and Medicaid have been there for them.  Let us work together to ensure another 50 years.”

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