Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965 in a bipartisan effort to provide health insurance coverage for low-income, disabled, and elderly Americans. In their 50 year history, each of these programs has come to play a key role in providing health coverage to millions of Americans today and make up a significant component of federal and state budgets. As major programs both in size and scope, their role and the ways in which they operate are often debated by policymakers and the public alike. As the programs reach their 50th year, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally representative survey of Americans to explore the public’s views of these programs, their experiences as beneficiaries, and their opinions on proposals for future changes.
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With its inclusion in the House GOP health plan released last month, the idea of converting Medicare into a premium support system once again features prominently in Capitol Hill policy discussions about the future of Medicare, the federal health insurance program that covers 57 million seniors and people with disabilities.…