Professor Michele Fletcher
December 4, 2006
The Social Security system, which was created as an economic safety net for older Americans, was failing to protect them against the greatest single cause of economic dependency in old age which was the high cost of medical care. The need for a social insurance program to provide older Americans with reliable health care coverage started within the Social Security Administration and in Congress. In July 1965, the House and Senate passed the bill which established Medicare, a social insurance program designed to provide all older adults with comprehensive health care coverage at an affordable cost.
Since it’s inception in 1965, Medicare has been one of the fastest growing federal programs. When the program began on Jul 1, 1965, 19.1 million persons were enrolled. In 2004, approximately 42 million persons were enrolled. In its first 30 years, the program’s costs grew at an average rate of 15% a year. As a percentage of the federal budget, Medicare accounted for just over 1% in 1967, increased to 12% by 1997, was budgeted at 11.6% for 2004, and is projected at 15.2% for 2010. In 2003, Medicare represented 19.1% of all personal health care pending in the United States. (The Health Care Manger, 2005).
The Medicare legislation established a health insurance program for aged persons to complement the retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits under other titles of the Social Security Act. When first implanted in 1966, Medicare covered most persons aged 65 years or older. Since then, legislation has added other beneficiaries such as persons on disability payments from social security or the Railroad Retirement Board and persons with end-stage renal disease requiring continuing dialysis or kidney transplant. (The Health Care Manager, 2005).
Medicare originally consisted of 2 primary parts: hospital insurance (HI) and...