This month, Medicare and Medicaid turn 50.
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act into law, which created the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Today, these programs provide health coverage for tens of millions of Americans, including many seniors, disabled people and low-income families who would not otherwise have access to healthcare.
Against this backdrop, the White House yesterday held its Conference on Aging, a conference that has been held every ten years since 1961. President Obama addressed the conference, remarking that “One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens. And by that measure, the United States has a lot to be proud of.”
We agree with that sentiment. The United States has one of the best systems in the world for providing care to seniors and people with disabilities, and I encourage our readers to take advantage of the opportunities therein. Make sure you sign up for the Medicare plan that’s right for you, and get the maximum Social Security benefit that you can. See whether you may be eligible for disability benefits. If a family member may soon need long term care, consider whether Medicaid planning is appropriate. Make sure you have a healthcare directive and power of attorney. If a loved one with disabilities is receiving an inheritance or lawsuit settlement, consider using a special needs trust.
That’s not to say the American system is perfect. Seniors and people with disabilities who obtain healthcare face a number of glaring problems, some of which we help our clients ameliorate. But at the end of the day, in America, we take care of our own. For that we should all be proud.