Medicare at 50: Looking back, and looking forward

In The News Piece in The Washington Post
July 31, 2015

Medicare was difficult to achieve, even though the American public was less ideologically divided over the proposal than it has been over, say, the Affordable Care Act. According to Julian Zelizer’s wonderful book on the Congressional battles over the Great Society, polling in the mid-1960s showed that a majority of Americans favored government-funded health care for the elderly over a privately-financed program.

Yet while Medicare was widely hailed as a groundbreaking moment for American health care policy, it actually disappointed liberals in some respects. As Zelizer writes, the legislation “was a far cry from the program President Truman had proposed,” and “provided federal support only to a segment of the population.”