The people who built the programs
HARRY S. TRUMAN was the first president to propose a national health insurance program, in 1945. PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON credited Truman’s proposal as a big help in getting Medicare and Medicaid passed in 1965 and held the signing ceremony at Truman’s presidential library, presenting Truman with the very first Medicare card.
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY proposed universal health insurance for Americans 65 and older during the 1960 presidential campaign.
U. S. REP. AIME FORAND (D-R.I.), shown with Kennedy at left, introduced a bill in 1957 providing public coverage for seniors. The proposal is seen as a forerunner to Medicare.
SEN. ROBERT KERR (D-Okla.) co-authored the Kerr-Mills Act which passed in 1960, which provided federal funding to states to cover medical costs for low-income seniors. It served as a model for Medicaid.
SENS. TED KENNEDY (D-Mass.) and ORRIN HATCH (R-Utah) in 1997 spearheaded creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which built on Medicaid to expand children’s coverage.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON signed the bill.