Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Let's Celebrate Medicare's Success at Age 50

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Let's Celebrate Medicare's Success at Age 50

Article excerpt

In his July 28 column "Zombies Against Medicare," Paul Krugman correctly states that we should celebrate Medicare's 50th birthday this year. With his usual clarity he provides the reasons that underscore why Medicare works and why it should be important to all of us.

From a historical perspective, citizens should understand the roots of this social policy that provides health care insurance for those 65 and over. Prior to the legislation authorizing Medicare in 1965, most elders in this country had no health insurance. Private insurance companies assessed that they could not make a profit on insuring elders. Older persons who became ill had to use their own financial resources and families often had to dole out money to help parents and grandparents. It was not uncommon for individuals in both generations to be reduced to poverty as a result of an elder family member's illness.

In addition, not much regulation existed for hospitals, nursing homes or rehab facilities to address safety concerns of patients. …

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