Medicare and Medicaid Turn Fifty

Fifty years ago today, President Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, marking America’s first major steps towards socialized medicine. ARI’s Rituparna Basu explains:

Medicare and Medicaid, which today pay the medical bills of one in three Americans, were passed on the premise that medical care is a right which individuals are entitled to regardless of whether they can pay for it; if an individual can’t afford the medical care he needs, it’s considered the responsibility of others to shoulder the costs. On that unchallenged premise, the government has continued to expand medical care as an entitlement. Medicare and Medicaid now cover more medical services and more segments of the population, and new entitlement programs have been passed. Government controls in health care have burgeoned, dictating, for example, how much hospitals and medical professionals can charge for their efforts. Continuing that destructive pattern, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act greatly multiplies the control over health care.

Read more here.