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[Perspectives] Signing the US Medicare Act: a long political struggle

50 years ago, on July 30, 1965, US President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Medicare Act into law. The law created two new programmes, Medicare for those who had reached the social security retirement age of 65 years, and Medicaid for those whose incomes were below specific levels. In the context of the long history of struggles to obtain national health insurance in the USA, this was a momentous act. Admittedly, the law applied only to part of the population, the old and the poor, but it was nonetheless an important advance.