The Story of Medicare: A Timeline

With Washington considering changes to Medicare to reduce the federal deficit, this video from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights the Medicare program's evolution from its origins to the current day. It also discusses the program's impact on the 50 million elderly and disabled Americans it serves today, as well as the fiscal challenges it faces to ensure its long-term sustainability. For more information, please visit or check out for more of our Medicare-related resources.

The Story of Medicare: A Timeline

9 thoughts on “The Story of Medicare: A Timeline

  1. Kaiser Family Foundation does such great quality research and analysis. We
    at Family Restoration and Healing Center appreciate all they have worked on
    over the years.

  2. thekkl..sigh You look like a kid. I was around during the beginning of this
    program We didn’t have a 24/7 media noise machine; we read complex news
    reports that took intelligence and patience to understand. In the 1980’s I
    also lived & worked in Germany; paid tax credits & SAW how a decent health
    care works..not because I was listening to politicians on the take with
    everything to lose – but because I witnessed it first hand. You’re very
    misinformed my young friend. That makes you dangerus

  3. Socialism, Communism and helping poor through federal government insurances
    is robbing us of personal relationships and responsibility of a family and
    local community sticking together to help each other. We forget how to
    love. We have no connection with those helping us or with those being
    helped; there is no emotional attachment; there is only anger. Fraud and
    abuse are normal. Goal is love. The additional cost of administering
    federal helps etc. make it an unwise and inefficient process

  4. Liked this video! This explains the history of healthcare in the United
    States and why medicare is important. I’m glad to pay my taxes if it means
    we’ll benefit from medicare and social security. :)

  5. I remember the days before Medicare. My parents and grandparents worked so
    I cared for my g grandmother her last few months, I was 6 yrs old home
    alone all day on an isolated farm with a dear lady dying of cancer. Glad I
    had that time with her but really wish she had been able to have more
    comfort and someone who physically/mentally take care of her. I appreciate
    all Medicare has done. 

  6. Medicare 202…. Update May 26, 2015… If the “item or service reasonable
    or necessary and, therefore, covered by Medicare”…

    See Case No. 13-CV-990 Whitcomb v Sylvia Burwell Secretary of Health &
    Human Services. Item & service Cannot Be Denied…

    A remand sentence-four 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) reverses the Medicare Appeals
    Counsel’s decision and is a “victory for the Plaintiff and terminates the
    Under Federal Law, a prevailing litigant in a case against the United
    States Government is entitled to recover its attorney fees and costs, when
    the position asserted by the government was not substantially justified. 28
    U.S.C. § 2412. “In the present matter this Court ruling recognizes that the
    government’s refusal to cover a medical device for the management of
    ‪Whitcomb’s diabetes was not supported in law or fact”.

    Not only has a judge in the Medicare Office of Hearings and Appeals found
    coverage for CGM was appropriate, but the District Court of Wisconsin has
    ruled that claims cannot be denied based on the Article stating CGM is
    precautionary and therefore not covered…

    On May 26, 2015, the District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
    ruled that the Secretary of Health and Human Services cannot deny coverage
    of a continuous glucose monitor based on a statement in an Article that
    such monitors are “precautionary.” The case reflects the arduous path that
    Type 1 diabetic Medicare beneficiaries endure while trying to secure
    coverage for a medical device that is considered the standard of care for
    Type 1 diabetics with hypoglycemic unawareness – a device widely deemed
    necessary to prevent life-threatening hypoglycemic events. The Medicare
    beneficiary had sought coverage from United Healthcare’s Secure Horizon’s
    Medicare Advantage Plan. Although United Healthcare covers CGM on a limited
    basis for non-Medicare beneficiaries, it does not cover CGM for Medicare

    Through every phase of the multi-step Medicare administrative appeals
    process, the Plaintiff appealed the denial of a CGM that she got in April
    2011. Although statutory regulations provide that an administrative law
    judge should issue a decision within 90 days of a request for an
    administrative hearing, 231 days passed until the Plaintiff received a
    favorable administrative law judge decision, i.e., February 2013. United
    Healthcare appealed the favorable decision and the Medicare Appeals Council
    reversed the decision asserting that the Medicare contractor’s local
    coverage determination (“LCD”) incorporated a Medicare Article that deemed
    CGM to be “precautionary.” Although Medicare regulations require the
    Council to issue a decision within 90 days of a request for review, the
    Council took approximately six months to render a decision, i.e., August

    The District Court, however, found that the LCD did not incorporate the
    Article by reference nor vise versa. Further, the Court noted the
    distinction between LCDs (which indicate whether a device is reasonable and
    necessary) and Articles (which address non-coverage information such as
    coding and payment). The Court reasoned that if a Medicare contractor could
    issue a coverage decision in an Article, it would subvert the LCD
    development process and would undermine Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to
    challenge a non-coverage policy as envisioned by Congress under Section 522
    of BIPA.

    The Court remanded the matter to the Medicare Appeals Council to determine
    the Medicare beneficiary’s need for CGM based on her individual medical
    condition, i.e., without reference to the Article. The case underscores the
    challenges faced by Medicare beneficiaries seeking coverage of a device
    that is the standard of care, and the Office of Medicare Hearings and
    Appeals’ and Council’s failure to meet statutory deadlines, even for
    Medicare beneficiaries.

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