Source: NPR Morning Edition ⇥
Submitted By: Jonathan Kotch
by Renee Montagne
includes Audio link
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Medicare turns 50 years old today. The law creating a national health insurance program for older Americans was signed in 1965 after a long political battle. One big opponent was the American Medical Association. The AMA famously signed up then-actor Ronald Reagan to campaign against Medicare.
(SOUNDBITE OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION AD)
RONALD REAGAN: Write those letters now. Call your friends, and tell them to write. If you don’t, this program, I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow….
MONTAGNE: Medicare became a force for civil rights because the Civil Rights Act was signed just a year before, and it now barred federal funding for institutions that discriminated on the basis of race. For hospitals, the fear of losing federal funds became a powerful motivator.
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