Medicare is 50! (12-21-15)
As many Americans turned 50 years old this year and many other Americans finished exercising their Annual Enrollment Options, the Medicare program itself celebrated its 50th birthday.
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed this expansive piece of healthcare coverage into law and he did not do it just anywhere. He did it right in our backyard because "it all started from the man in Independence."
While many cities can claim the birthplace and the residence of a President, Independence is part of the greater Kansas City metro area that President Harry S. Truman called home. Many schoolchildren and adults have been to visit his family farm in Grandview, his home with Bess in Independence and his Presidential Library in Independence.
If you ask random people what they know about President Truman, you may hear that he was just a farmer or some may know that he was sworn in as President due to the death of President Roosevelt only eighty-two days after being sworn in as Vice-President. The majority probably know him for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan or for the infamous newspaper headline "Dewey Defeats Truman" which wasn't true or for his saying – "The Buck Stops Here." What some people do not know is that President Truman wanted to enhance the legacy of The New Deal but only a few of his social programs made it through during his presidency.
It was because of Truman's compassion for the middle-income people and the average citizen that President Johnson came to Independence to sign the Medicare bill into law. He also presented President Truman, by then known as Mr. Citizen, with the first Medicare Identification card while Bess Truman received the second one.
As Medicare beneficiaries all over the country receive their red, white and blue cards it is the farmer from Kansas City that they have to thank for planting the seed over fifty years ago.