Happy an­niver­sary, Medi­care and Med­i­caid

Modern Healthcare - - 50 MEDICARE AND MEDICAID THE NEXT HALF-CENTURY - Fawn Lopez Pub­lisher

Amer­i­cans are living longer, more pro­duc­tive lives be­cause of Medi­care and Med­i­caid, signed into law by Pres­i­dent Lyn­don John­son a half-cen­tury ago.

Case in point: The fa­ther of a col­league re­cently passed away af­ter reach­ing his 101st birth­day. He was vig­or­ous to the end—even mus­ter­ing the cu­rios­ity to ask his daugh­ter to ex­plain Twit­ter and Face­book. Medi­care helped en­sure his longevity.

Med­i­caid also has made its mark. It has trans­formed the lives of the dis­abled and chron­i­cally ill, whether the wheel­chair-bound grand­mother with con­ges­tive heart fail­ure or the sin­gle mom whose asth­matic child might die with­out Med­i­caid cov­er­age.

But how can the health­care in­dus­try achieve bet­ter out­comes for the poor, dis­abled and chron­i­cally ill? Good health re­quires qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, a clean en­vi­ron­ment and the sta­bil­ity that comes from well- paid, full-time jobs. How can the in­dus­try help cre­ate the con­text for good health and pos­i­tive out­comes?

The CMS is look­ing for ways to im­prove the health­care sys­tem’s per­for­mance. Its Health Care In­no­va­tion Awards of­fer more than $1 bil­lion to health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions that re­duce costs and im­prove out­comes for Medi­care and Med­i­caid pa­tients. My per­sonal hope is that this spirit of in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship will con­tinue to mo­bi­lize and mo­ti­vate ev­ery key player—whether clin­i­cians, ex­ec­u­tives, con­sumers, politi­cians, ed­u­ca­tors, com­mu­nity lead­ers or the me­dia.

Mod­ern Health­care has doc­u­mented ev­ery Medi­care and Med­i­caid mile­stone and chal­lenge since Crain Com­mu­ni­ca­tions pur­chased the mag­a­zine from McGraw-Hill in 1976. This sec­tion com­mem­o­rates the pro­grams’ 50th an­niver­sary by pro­vid­ing some his­tory and an over­view of their chal­lenges. Work­ing to­gether in the years ahead, I am sure we can rise to those chal­lenges and re­al­ize the full po­ten­tial of Medi­care and Med­i­caid.

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