The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

21st Century Medicare

"When Medicare was passed in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson said: ‘No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime.’ Thirty-six years later, it is time for our Nation to come together and renew that commitment."

-- President George W. Bush

Medicare today provides health insurance to nearly 40 million people aged 65 and over as well as to people with long-term disabilities. For 36 years, Medicare has been immensely successful in fulfilling President Johnson’s vision of helping seniors achieve the promise of a secure, vigorous retirement. Medicare has given over 90 million seniors access to many of the advances of modern medicine, which have helped them live longer and healthier lives. Medicare has also helped protect seniors from the higher costs of advanced care. But as we enter the 21st century, Medicare’s promise is threatened by:

If we do not take steps to improve Medicare now, Medicare it may be unable to deliver on its promise of a secure and healthy retirement for today’s and or tomorrow’s seniors:

Failing to act to meet these unavoidable challenges may lead to more extreme changes later, including government controls on prescription drugs and stricter coverage limits in Medicare. These changes would reduce access to needed treatments and slow the development of new technologies, such as promising new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and common cancers. We must come together now to take the sound, careful, and deliberate steps needed to improve the Medicare program for today’s and tomorrow’s beneficiariesseniors. Thirty-six years from now, we should still have a Medicare program that fulfills President Johnson’s promise of a secure and vibrant retirement.

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