Profile America: Medicare

Thursday, February 8th. Tomorrow marks the date in 1961 when newly inaugurated President John Kennedy asked Congress to approve a health insurance program for 14.2 million Americans age 65 or older, financed by an increase in Social Security taxes. The proposal went nowhere until after Kennedy’s assassination. What we know as Medicare passed through the House and Senate by July 27, 1965, and President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law on the 30th in the presence of former President Harry Truman. Now, about 59 million people are enrolled — over 9 million of them disabled. The most recent population estimates by the Census Bureau finds 47.8 million Americans age 65 and older.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey.

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