On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. July 30th, 2015 marked the 50th Anniversary for Medicare.

Before Medicare’s creation, approximately 65% of those over 65 had health insurance, with coverage that was often unavailable or unaffordable to the rest, because adults often paid more than three times as much for health insurance as younger people. An interesting fact, is that Medicare actually spurred the racial integration of Hospital waiting rooms and Physician offices by making payments conditional on desegregation.

Though Medicare and Medicaid started as basic insurance programs for Americans who didn’t have health insurance, the programs have changed over the years to provide more and more Americans with access to the quality and affordable health care they need. Medicare benefits now also include; Speech, Physical, and Chiropractic Therapy, as well as end-of-life Hospice Care. Also, benefits have expanded to cover younger people with permanent disabilities.