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AARP Celebrates Medicare’s 46th Birthday

July 29, 2011

AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560

AARP Celebrates Medicare’s 46th Birthday

Program remains vital link to health care for millions of older Americans

WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released this statement on Medicare’s 46th birthday:

“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.

“Since then, millions of seniors have paid into Medicare and benefited from the vital health services it provides. And over those forty-six years, while Medicare has changed, it has continued to provide vital health security to older Americans and their families. Medicare has also been improved, and it now provides free preventive services and helps people with their prescription drugs. With more Baby Boomers continuing to enter the system every day, preserving this bedrock program is more important than ever.

“Sadly, some in Congress are using the current deficit debate to introduce cuts to Medicare as a solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges. Our nation’s focus should be on reforming our broken heath care system and tackling high healthcare costs, not on cutting benefits and shifting higher costs to seniors. We need to improve health care delivery and strengthen Medicare, but we won’t be able to do that if Congress makes harmful cuts that hurt beneficiaries as part of the debt ceiling debate.”

“AARP has fought for years to protect and strengthen Medicare, and it is our aim to make sure we protect this program for current and future beneficiaries. We’ll continue to fight to ensure that Congress honors the commitment of health security to our members and all older Americans.”

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership 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, 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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