Medicare and Medicaid at 55: The Fight Continues

By Former Congressman Henry Waxman

When President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law 55 years ago, he understood that a nation is judged not on how its most prosperous thrive, but on how it cares for its most vulnerable. When I was in Congress, I fought hard to protect and expand these programs. We saw then, and continue to see, the critical role that government must play in protecting the public’s health and ensuring access to affordable health care.

Indeed, the fight for fair, equitable care for all continues. The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare what a lifeline these programs often are. Still, the administration and its congressional allies are pushing policies to slash Medicare and gut Medicaid. And several states have relinquished the opportunity provided by the Affordable Care Act to expand their Medicaid programs and cover millions more.

Every day, we work with partners who share our commitment to safeguarding these cornerstones of our health care system and enacting smart policy to improve them. While we celebrate the tremendous impact these programs have had on millions, we recognize that the fight continues to protect them, for Americans now and in the future, and achieve health equity for everyone.