Happy anniversary, Medicare and Medicaid
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.