Medicaid and Medicare Turn 45 Today – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog


Is this a scene from the latest Mad Men episode?  While it’s from the same era, it’s fairly apparent from the attire that the photo was not taken on Madison Avenue.  The photo was taken 45 years ago today at the signing ceremony of the Social Security Act of 1965, the law that created Medicare and Medicaid to provide care to the most vulnerable in our society.

As he watched President Johnson sign the new law, I like to think Vice President Hubert Humphrey was thinking something along the lines of his famous quote: 

“It was once said that the moral test of government is
how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children;
those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the
shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

I think Medicaid represents an appropriate
moral test for our government and the American people as it was created to
serve those in the dawn of life, twilight of life and shadows of life.  Medicaid is there for families facing
poverty, the elderly who cannot afford long-term care, people with disabilities and
for children with severe and chronic health conditions.

The White issued a proclamation today celebrating the 45th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Medicaid created an essential partnership between the Federal Government and the States to provide a basic health care safety net for some of the most vulnerable Americans: low-income children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities.  Forty-five years later, we must ensure this invioable trust between America and its citizens remains stronger than ever.” 

This might seem like an old-fashioned idea to some, but I
think compassion for the most vulnerable among us is always in style.  How well we treat Medicaid is a good
indicator of who we are as a nation. (And for you Mad Men fans who watched Draper fumble the reporter’s question  “Who is Don Draper?”, Humphrey could have easily handled that question by pivoting to the more important question of who we are as a nation.)

So happy birthday Medicaid & Medicare!  Here’s to hoping that you get even better with age.

Scroll to Top