Medicare is and was a bipartisan effort

BettyJean Downing Kling

Time to cut through the BS- before you vote learn the facts about these two parties. Don’t believe the drivel learn the facts. For example, yesterday I told you the truth about the women’s programs and showed you proof positive where much of the women’s rights since the 70′s came from: Title IX, Title X, ERA, Equal Pay, PP & Abortion, came from the Republican administration! Today The Majority United will enlighten women and seniors about Medicare! We will show you that these social programs are not a gift solely from kind hearted Dems or in danger of Republican cold hearted killers!

Although the overall politics of Medicare and Medicaid were liberal ideal in 1965, the help of John Byrnes, a Republican, was essential in drafting what became United States’ first public health insurance program. While President Lyndon B. Johnson was responsible for signing the bill, there were many others involved in drafting the final bill that was introduced to the United States Congress in March 1965.

A little history shows us the Democrats were not the only ones willing to support social programs especially if they might harm their reelection.

For example,

In 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt,, a Democrat, signed the Social Security Act, medical benefits were left out of the bill. While Roosevelt wished to include some sort of national health care provisions in the bill, he believed the American population would not be ready and the idea would be unpopular. Hmmmm?

Harry Truman, a Democrat, took on the idea of national medical care and tried to integrate it into his Fair Deal program. Truman’s attempts were also unsuccessful, though during his presidency the fight for national medical care became specific to the aged population. Once the targeted age was decided, a lengthy debate began over presenting a coherent medical care bill to Congress.

During the Eisenhower administration, the House Ways and Means Committee was created. The members of this committee were mainly Republicans and Southern Democrats, complicating attempts to pass social health programs. Wilbur Mills, a Republican and chair of the committee, later played a role in creating the health care program that was integrated into the Social Security Act.

Wilbur Cohen was known by several nicknames. He was once dubbed “The Man Who Built Medicare” and John F. Kennedy tagged him “Mr. Social Security,” although, it was Frances Perkins, the first woman Secretary of Labor (under FDR) who was the architect of social security. With The Social Security Act Perkins established unemployment benefits, pensions for the many uncovered elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans. The New York Times called him “one of the country’s foremost technicians in public welfare.” Time portrayed him as a man of “boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm, and a drive for action.” He was a leading expert on Social Security and a member of Americans for Democratic Action.

When deliberations began in 1965, both AMA members and their suggestions were rejected. Wilbur Mills, the chair of the Ways and Means committee, suggested combining Byrnes’ ideas and Medicare. His committee took on the task of drafting the bill that ultimately became law. In combining the two bills, John Byrnes’ suggestion, which included lower taxes, had to be altered as higher taxes were necessary for the program’s predicted costs.

In March 1965, Mills presented a draft of the bill to Congress. The bill went through more than five hundred amendments before being passed by majority vote in both the House (307-116) and Senate (70-24).[citation needed] The legislation made two amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935. Title XVIII, which became known as Medicare, includes Part A, which provides hospital insurance for the aged, and Part B, which provides supplementary medical insurance. Title XIX, which became known as Medicaid, provides for the states to finance health care for individuals who were at or close to the public assistance level with federal matching funds.

On July 30, 1965, President Johnson, a Democrat, signed the bill, making it Public Law 89-97. The signing took place in Independence, Missouri and was attended by Harry S. Truman. Johnson credited Truman with “planting the seeds of compassion and duty which have today flowered into care for the sick and serenity for the fearful.” Implementation of the amendments required extensive data processing and the re-configuration of hospital policies nationwide.

On December 8, 2003, President Bush (Jr.) signed Public Law 108-173, The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (also called the Medicare Modernization Act or MMA) is a federal law of the United States, enacted in 2003. It produced the largest overhaul of Medicare in the public health program’s 38-year history. The MMA was signed by President George W. Bush on December 8, 2003, after passing in Congress by a close margin.

In the years since Medicare’s creation in 1965, the role of prescription drugs in U.S. patient care has significantly increased. As new and expensive drugs have come into use, patients, particularly senior citizens for whom Medicare was designed, have found prescriptions harder to afford. The MMA is meant to address this problem.

To learn more about Public Law 108-173, The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act MMA: http://www.medicare.gov/medicarereform/108s1013.htm

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