Wisconsin should expand health care coverage
By Mayor Brian Smith
July 31, 1965 is a date that will live on in American history.
It on this date when one of the greatest presidents of the modern era, Lyndon B. Johnson, ensured that our hardworking citizens would be taken care of after they reached an age where they could no longer work. Before Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law, roughly 51 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had health insurance.
Think about that. Only half of our seniors had access to the care they needed.
As we celebrate the 51st anniversary of Medicare, we are again reminded that partisan politics is a constant threat to the dismantling of Medicare. Insurance for 65 and over becomes extremely costly if left to the private insurance market forces.
In the absence of Medicare, senior citizens would have to make a choice between buying necessities and paying for their health care. It is our duty to make sure we take care of our seniors, who have spent their lives helping out the society in which we live.
Americans who worked hard their whole lives have paid into a system to help them afford health care when they are unable to continue to work. It is essential that we as a nation protect our programs that take care of our citizens, especially our elderly and disabled citizens.
In order for Wisconsin and our nation to thrive, we have to continue to expand health care coverage and keep Medicare premiums low.
While talking to local families, I have heard countless times the concerns of senior citizens who are living on a fixed income. Many of these seniors have told me that they would be priced out of health care and would not receive their much-needed medication if there were an increase in premium costs.
A change in the Medicare premium structure could put many senior citizens in financial ruin. It is imperative that we ensure a quality level of care while keeping costs down.
When signing Medicare into law, Lyndon B. Johnson said this: “Medical care will free millions from their miseries. It will signal a deep and lasting change in the American way of life.”
Without a question this reigns true today. Medicare has unquestionably improved the lives of senior citizens and people with disabilities.
I will continue to be a fierce advocate for Medicare, a program that has helped give a confidence, security, and stability to my community, friends, and parents.