Anniversary of a Controversy: Why Medicare Remains a Target After 46 Years of BenefitsPerspectives Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Today is the 46th anniversary of Medicare. On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law an amendment to the Social Security Act which established Medicare as the health insurance program for Americans 65 of older, and Medicaid, to provide health coverage to certain low-income people. In 1972, during the Nixon Administration, eligibility for the program was extended to people under 65 with certain disabilities; and in 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to the program. Approximately 45 million Americans are beneficiaries of Medicare/Medicaid services today.
Despite these staggering numbers the program, arguably, is under the most serious threat to its ability to deliver health care to some of America’s most vulnerable populations. This is due to a provision in Health Care Reform which created the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB was created and given a broad mandate to achieve cost savings in the program when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate the program has exceeded certain budget targets. READ FULL ARTICLE