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Congresswoman Waters Highlights 46th Anniversary of Medicare

August 1, 2011
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) announced that today marks the 46th anniversary of the day that the Medicare program was enacted.  President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law on July 30, 1965. 

"I am proud of the creation of Medicare," said Congresswoman Waters.  "Medicare was one of the most important achievements of the Democratic Party, and I will always vote to protect it."

Medicare provides affordable and reliable health coverage to 47 million Americans from all walks of life.  Medicare covers more than 36 million white Americans, 4 million African Americans, 3 million Hispanic Americans and almost 2 million Asian Americans.  Medicare is popular with seniors because it provides a comprehensive set of health care benefits, and they know they can depend upon it.

"Today, House Republicans are trying to balance the budget on the backs of Medicare recipients and other low- and middle-income Americans, while refusing to require big oil companies, special interest groups, and millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes," said the Congresswoman.  "American seniors – and their families – deserve better!"

 In April, House Republicans passed a budget that would end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a voucher program.  Under the Republican budget, current Medicare beneficiaries would pay more money for preventive health services and prescription drugs, while Americans under the age of 55 would receive a voucher-like payment to purchase health insurance from a private insurance company.

"Over the last 46 years, Democrats have fought continuously to protect and strengthen Medicare," said Congresswoman Waters.  "Democrats have often enacted legislation to expand Medicare benefits and extend Medicare's solvency.  Last year, Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, which provided free preventive health services to Medicare beneficiaries and extended Medicare's solvency for an additional eight years, and we did it without a single Republican vote.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to protect Medicare so that it will always be there for current and future generations of American seniors."