by Bob Bickers, Guest Column
July 29, 2014
Medicare — health insurance for Americans 65 and older as well as younger individuals with certain disabilities or health conditions — turns 49 today.
Since President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed this historic legislation in 1965, nearly 50 million Americans (15 percent of the nation’s population) depend on Medicare for their primary health care (www.aarp.org).
While Medicare is certainly not perfect, it has established baseline coverage for health services in hospitals, doctors’ offices and for other essential health care services.
In a June 16 report by the Commonwealth Fund, the United States ranks last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, health efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy lives (www.commonwealthfund.org).