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AARP CEO A. Barry Rand Recognizes Medicare’s 45th Anniversary


July 29, 2010

Contact: AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560

AARP CEO A. Barry Rand Recognizes Medicare’s 45th Anniversary

WASHINGTON — Today, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released a statement in recognition of Medicare’s 45th anniversary. The complete text of his statement follows:

“I recently read an old editorial from an AARP magazine that said, ‘Health protection is an essential to a satisfying way of life. Once a luxury, it is now regarded as a necessity in the same category as food, clothing and shelter. It is the responsibility of society to make available to every older person desiring them the best and the least expensive types of medical protection…’

“That editorial appeared in 1959, six years before the passage of Medicare legislation. On July 30, 1965, President Johnson signed Medicare into law, enrolled former President Truman as its first beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card. President Truman’s monthly premium was $3.

“Since that landmark legislation was signed 45 years ago, the way Americans age continues to change—and Medicare has changed with it. Medicare is still a lifeline that provides choices to older Americans who previously had none, and it has increasingly become a program that helps people get and stay healthy. Over the years Medicare's benefit package has been improved to meet the needs of people with disabilities, offer more preventive services, and more recently, help people with rising prescription costs.

“As we look to the future, we know that further improvements to Medicare are needed in order to better address the chronic conditions, rising prescription drug costs and other health needs many older Americans face. We’ve strengthened Medicare by providing free preventive services and closing the prescription drug coverage gap, and we continue our efforts to protect the ability of 47 million older Americans to see their doctor.

“The world looks a lot different now than it did in 1965, and it will look a lot different 45 years from now. AARP will continue to work as hard as we have over the past four decades to keep Medicare a strong and vibrant program that continues to serve as a vital link to health care for millions of older Americans.”

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA su Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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