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Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid at 50: Successful, expensive

Medicare and Medicaid at 50: Successful, expensive

In the 50 years since they were signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, Medicare and Medicaid have grown into health insurance behemoths, covering one-third of all Americans and accounting for $4 of every $10 spent on healthcare here. Widely supported by beneficiaries, the programs have been dramatically successful on many fronts: Medicare has extended health insurance to nearly all the elderly, and Medicaid provides vital prenatal and maternity care for almost half of U.S. births. Both programs have helped narrow the healthcare gap between rich and poor, and between whites and minorities. But the programs' size is also their biggest challenge. Medicare and Medicaid were designed...

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