Health Care Advocates Celebrate 50 Years of Medicaid and Medicare


CHAMPAIGN--Local health care advocates held a birthday party for two programs that have provided millions with health care since their inception.

Medicaid and Medicare turned 50 years old Thursday and Champaign County Health Care Consumers celebrated. 

Both health coverage programs for low-income individuals and senior citizens were signed into law on July 30th 1965 by then-president Lyndon Johnson.

Since then, health care advocates say, Medicaid and Medicare have equalized access to coverage throughout the country. 

Around 55 million people are currently enrolled in Medicare, and about 77 million in Medicaid, nationwide.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, both programs continue to expand. 

"We're very fortunate that in the state of Illinois, Illinois expanded Medicaid so now single individuals for example, with incomes of under about $16,400 who could previously never afford health insurance can now get Medicaid coverage." said Claudia Lenhoff, executive director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers. 

As for Medicare, around 10,000 people are becoming eligible every day as the baby boomers age into the program. 

For those who want to learn more about the programs or their eligibility, contact Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

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