Before the enactment of Medicare, 48 years ago, only 50% of seniors had health insurance and 35% lived in poverty. That was a time when even a minor illness or injury could bankrupt older Americans and their families. Fast forward to 2013 and nearly 50 million Americans are receiving guaranteed health care benefits through the Medicare program regardless of their medical condition or income.
Protecting this lifeline benefit for the future is why National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare activists in 50+ cities and towns across the country, have converged on more than 40 Congressional district offices and every single Congressional office on Capitol Hill to deliver Medicare anniversary signs. We’ve asked members of Congress to display the sign on their office door this week to show their support for protecting Medicare’s life-saving benefits.
We’ve also given each Member a special anniversary card reminding them of what millions of average American families already know...exactly why we love Medicare.
Top Ten Reasons Americans LOVE Medicare
1. Medicare provides comprehensive health care coverage for seniors. Since its creation in 1965, Medicare has provided universal health care to millions of seniors.
2. Without Medicare, America’s seniors would lack insurance coverage due to high costs or preexisting conditions. Before Medicare, more than half of seniors lacked hospital insurance. Today, virtually all people ages 65 and over are covered by Medicare.
3. Medicare provides free preventive health screenings. Seniors do not have to pay for Mammograms, Diabetes or Cancer screenings thanks to new provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
4. Medicare provides 36 million seniors prescription drug coverage through Part D. The program will be even better when, thanks to the ACA, the Part D coverage gap known as the "donut hole" will be phased out by 2020.
5. 9 million disabled Americans receiving Social Security benefits also receive health coverage through Medicare.
6. Medicare’s costs rise slower than private insurance. Medicare spending per beneficiary rose more than 400 percent from 1969 to 2009 but inflation-adjusted premiums on private health insurance rose more than 700 percent.
7. Medicare is efficient. Only 1% of traditional Medicare’s spending is overhead compared to 9% for private insurance and 6% for privatized Medicare.
8. Medicare saves lives. Research shows Medicare patients are 20 percent less likely to die within a week of hospital admission than slightly younger patients who do not yet qualify for government insurance.
9. We earn our Medicare coverage. Medicare isn’t welfare. American workers’ payroll taxes fund hospital, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care and premiums cover a portion of the costs for physician visits, outpatient visits and preventive services.
10. Medicare is a social insurance program that works. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Medicare is universally cherished is that in return for the contributions we make during our working years, we receive guaranteed health benefits.
You can find all of our Medicare anniversary celebration material on our Anniversary website here.