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CMS’ program history

Medicare & Medicaid

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to the Medicare and Medicaid. The original Medicare program included Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Today these 2 parts are called “Original Medicare.” Over the years, Congress has made changes to Medicare:

  •      More people have become eligible.

For example, in 1972, Medicare was expanded to cover the disabled, people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis or kidney transplant, and people 65 or older that select Medicare coverage.

  •      More benefits, like prescription drug coverage, have been offered.

At first, Medicaid gave medical insurance to people getting cash assistance. Today, a much larger group is covered:

  •      Low-income families
  •      Pregnant women
  •      People of all ages with disabilities
  •      People who need long-term care

States can tailor their Medicaid programs to best serve the people in their state, so there’s a wide variation in the services offered.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug benefit

The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) made the biggest changes to the Medicare in the program in 38 years.  Under the MMA, private health plans approved by Medicare became known as Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans are sometimes called "Part C" or "MA Plans.”

The MMA also expanded Medicare to include an optional prescription drug benefit, “Part D,” which went into effect in 2006.

Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 to give health insurance and preventive care to nearly 11 million, or 1 in 7, uninsured American children.  Many of these children came from uninsured working families that earned too much to be eligible for Medicaid. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have CHIP plans.

Affordable Care Act

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought the Health Insurance Marketplace, a single place where consumers can apply for and enroll in private health insurance plans.  It also made new ways for us to design and test how to pay for and deliver health care.  Medicare and Medicaid have also been better coordinated to make sure people who have Medicare and Medicaid can get quality services.  

50th Anniversary - Medicare & Medicaid Event:  50 Years, Millions Of Healthier Lives

This event commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and includes a panel of experts discussing how Medicare and Medicaid have changed society and the ways in which we can work together to strengthen and improve health care for future generations. Learn more about the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.

Check out these special 50th Anniversary videos: