Medicaid hits 50
As a footnote to that, I have to note that the same legislation that established Medicare also established Medicaid. So Medicaid, geared primarily toward the poor, also just turned 50.
Unhappily, Medicaid has been neither as popular nor as successful as Medicare. One reason is that it is, again, geared mostly to the poor, and that is always a hard sell in the US, where we too often regard poverty as a sign of moral inferiority.
The other is that it's administered by the states, which have enormous leeway in deciding who is eligible for assistance. And some states are downright miserly, which means millions of people cannot get the help they need.
Even so, again citing the NY Times, over its life Medicaid "has been critical in reducing childhood deaths and infant mortality. It has saved the lives of patients with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and asthma. ... If Medicaid did not exist, life expectancy in America would be much lower."
And that is worth celebrating. So Happy Birthday, Medicaid.
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