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Happy Birthday Medicare! You'll be 48 on July 30

By Dian Vujovich

July 30 is a big birthday day for many. Henry Ford and Casey Stengel were born on this day but, as you know, are among the departed. However, on  the happily alive birthday side are The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger and my favorite “old lady” neighbor Margaret . And then there is Medicare.


Birthdays for federal programs are a bit of a stretch for me but not nearly as much as Wall Street celebrating the length of a bull market. (Don’t recall any celebrations for lengthy bear markets, but hey, there is no reasoning with Wall Street.)


On the other hand, when it comes to Medicare, that’s a big deal. Particularly to those enjoying the benefits of this health care program that President Lyndon B Johnson signed into law on July 30, 1965.


No matter what you think of the Medicare program, or if your docs don’t participate in it, the health benefits it provides are a lifeline to millions.


For instance, from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization, comes these tidbits:


• Prior to Medicare, only 50 percent of seniors had health insurance and 35 percent lived in poverty.


• Today, more than 50 million Americans are receiving the benefits of Medicare programs. Of that figure 42 million are 65 years of age or older and another 8.5 million are disabled receiving Social Security benefits.


• More than 50 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have annual incomes under $23,000.


• Forty percent have three or more chronic conditions.


One last point:  Medicare doesn’t serve just the sickly. The program is eligible to everyone who is a citizen and turns 65 no matter how many trillions, billions, millions or dollars they have.


Re the stars: Given its birth date of July 30,  Medicare is a Leo. (I know, pointing that out is as goofy as celebrating the birthday of a bull market, but humor me here.)  And as a lion, anyone born on this day is known for their sociability, independence and natural leadership abilities.


Huh. No wonder Medicare is so popular. It was born that way.

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