50 years of a BFD

Just a reminder — Medicare and Medicaid turned fifty today:

1st Medicare card issued

1st Medicare card issued

These two programs are a combined big fucking deal on making this country a better spot to be. We should celebrate our successes, and then get back to work on making our successes better.

Open thread

67 replies
  1. 1

    Let’s hope we’re toasting Obamacare when it turns 50. ETA: And that we don’t have to wait another 40+ years between big federal social programs!

  2. 2
    Kropadope says:

    @Roger Moore: Nice thought, but because of the way the ACA does a little bit in a lot of areas and mainly works within the old system to fix it, it looks like more of a jumping off point for future reform than a potentially emblematic government program.

  3. 3
    srv says:

    Enjoy burning your marshmallows on the grave of the last true progressive blog, FDL.

  4. 4
    mtiffany says:

    Medicare and Medicaid turned fifty today.

    And if we want ’em to last another fifty years, we better keep the government out of ’em. Morans.

  5. 5
    MazeDancer says:

    Yay for 50 years of helping people’s lives!

    The Medigap insurance supplements and the Medicare Part D Pharma give-away are confusing to say the least. Perhaps, some time, Richard, you could turn your learned mind and excellent, clear writing to a post on same. Could become a perma-link of great value.

    BJ readers are a range of ages, though possibly skewing more to older than younger, so if they’re not trying to figure out Medicare and Medicare supplements for themselves, or help friends do same, they have older friends and relatives who could also benefit from clarity.

    For example, all Medicare Supplement policies are required by law to provide the same benefits, allegedly, but the prices range all over the place. Medigap Part F from AARP – a very popular choice – in NY is around 200 bucks a month. Yet, Medigap Part F with high deductible from First United American is $51 a month. After a year of paying $150 less and putting that in the bank, you’ve got your deductible basically covered and can keep saving. Maybe every state is like that.

    Bet if you did post, the Q & A would be extensive. Also the gratitude.

  6. 6
    singfoom says:

    Now let’s hope some day that they extend the law that allows under 65 kidney transplant recipients to get help paying for their immunosupression beyond the current 3 years. But fuck yeah Medicare!

  7. 7
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @MazeDancer: I think that is an excellent idea… let me start thinking about it as there are a couple of different ways to go into that set of issues.

  8. 8
    shell says:

    @srv: Guess youll be refusing your Medicare and SS benefits for the sake of your pure, pure soul.

  9. 9
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @srv: The Kill the Bill and make millions suffer so their pretty pretty feelings about purity aren’t insulted by the reality of politics –Fuck them.

    I shed no tears that they are shutting down today.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Let’s hope we’re toasting Obamacare when it turns 50.

    You younglings raise a cup to those of us who didn’t make it….

    I never knew they issued the first card to HST. Pretty cool.

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Richard Mayhew: was it Coolidge or Harding whose rumored death inspired the “how can they tell?” line at the Algonquin round table?

  12. 12
    Mack says:

    I know that as I am about to turn 60, these are two important issues to me. I’m pretty sure I have an odd perspective on these programs, but I don’t feel entitled to them because “I paid in.” I feel that they are a fair way to insure I have a fighting chance should I have something unfortunate happen and wind up broke and 65 years old. When I talk to younger people about this “system”, I try to frame it as a way for them to honor those that came before them, and that they should look at it as an opportunity to contribute to the collective, so to speak. Many of them don’t think it will be around for them, and I fully understand how they feel. I’m not sure it will be around for me.

    But yes, I would love to see some info here on BJ…some schmart people ’round here.

  13. 13
    Mack says:

    FDL is no more? Can’t say I care, they lost me years ago, never cared for the moderator.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    BFD indeed. Is this what Mr Andrea Mitchell was whingeing about? Re entitlements.

    Love learning HST got the first card. Note that they supplied the S period he did not use.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Coolidge, I think. Dorothy Parker quip?

  16. 16
    Mack says:

    @Elizabelle: Yes, I’m almost certain.

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:


    I would, except that I hate marshmallows. But I will warm my hands by that bonfire. Good widdance to bad wubbish.

  18. 18
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Coolidge. It was Dorothy Parker’s line. [Edit: Elizabelle beat me to the buzzer.]

    I’ve been on Medicare for three months now, and I’m still waiting to hear from a Death Panel. Must be held up by government red tape.

  19. 19
    LWA says:

    I suggest a continuous loop of Reagan darkly warning about the horror that would be America with Medicare, played endlessly to audiences of elderly Teabaggers in their Medicare hoverrounds.

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Elizabelle: Greenspan is the Bill Kristol of economic policy.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday defended his support of tax cuts in 2001 after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) suggested that he bears some blame for helping create the federal budget deficits that followed those cuts.
    But Greenspan, testifying at a congressional hearing, also said “we were all wrong” in early 2001, when he and other government economists forecast huge federal budget surpluses for years to come.

    Then again, Kristol has never even admitted to that much. And wasn’t his support of a political move like that a breach of tradition, if not actually of his office?

  21. 21
    raven says:

    66 to 15 is 50? That means it’s been 50 years since I went in the Army in November.

  22. 22
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Coolidge. It was Dorothy Parker’s line.

    when Coolidge died, Dorothy asked “How can they tell?”

    What didn’t get reported at the time (not fit to print) was her pal Benchley’s reply: “He had an erection.”

    (it’s in one of the Parker biographies)

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    I got no tears on my ice cream about FDL’s demise. Missed the glory days; they mostly seemed kinda excitable.

    TBogg will always find an audience.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    If anyone does miss the squeak and hisses of belfry bats provided by FDL, Salon is publishing a three part epic mini-series starring Camille Paglia.

    I gather Joan Walsh has some kind of emeritus rank there now? Who the hell took over for her? The open left gang?

  25. 25
    LWA says:

    If FDL didn’t exist, Jonah Goldberg would have to invent it.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    If you want to be at the vanguard of the repeal of the welfare state, there is a new line of perfumes in honor of Justice Scalia.

  27. 27
    singfoom says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Hamsher did some good pieces back in the day, but I won’t cry about their demise. As for Salon, while it might get me flamed around here, they started going downhill once Greenwald left. (Yes, he’s shrill! But also right most of the time.)

    I think the bitter feelings all around between the public option purity brigade and those who supported the ACA in general to get something passed needs to be shelved. I was a public option supporter but it wasn’t a hill to die on. But old feelings die hard or something.

  28. 28
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @singfoom: I think the difference is the analysis of whether or not the public option was a have to have, or a nice to have. I was of the opinion that it was a very nice but not necessary to advance health insurance reform to have and that if that was a price to pay to get 60 in the Senate and 218 in the House, the resulting bill would still be a massive step up over the status quo. History is showing that this analysis is being validated.

    From a different set of assumptions and value weights, I could see how some people would see a public option as a must-have, I disagree with those assumptions and value weights, but I can see where they come from.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @singfoom: There is a regular poster on FDL that I have stayed in touch with all these years. He’s a really good guy and we chat back and forth on FB. Neither of us ever talk about the Lake. I do miss the Southern Dragon. He’s been dead for over 5 years but people keep posting on his FB too!

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @Richard Mayhew: And hooking up with Grover?

  31. 31
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @raven: I hope “Reddhead” (Christie was her real name, I think?) is doing well

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Hardin Smith. She got Lupus but I think she’s hanging in there.

    eta, Yup, from her Facebook she looks to be doping fine. She’s in West Virginia too.

  33. 33
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I really hate those guys that just can’t admit that they were wrong. Just them, singular. It always has to be “WE” were all wrong. Yes, all of us together.

    Just speak for yourself Greenspan, and finally admit that YOU, yes YOU, got this completely wrong.

    I would also like him to admit that he got it wrong for purely selfish reasons. His own and his cronies greed and enrichment. Admit that you did not give a rats ass for people of the middle and working classes, and that you completely failed in your job to ensure a healthy economy for all the people of the US, not just your family and friends………you sniveling slime ball!

  34. 34
    singfoom says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Exactly. But since we’re talking about health insurance and politics, people get emotional and use the different analysis as a jumping off point for lack of sincerity and/or purity. And then things get nasty…

    I’m happy for the general success of the ACA, but I still believe that single payer would give us better outcomes. In the end it looks like the ACA is likely a stepping stone towards that in a long term perspective. But I still can’t answer the “What happens to the millions of people who work in the private insurance sector’s jobs?” question. I hope the various factions from the past can at least acknowledge the good that has come out of what got passed.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    Think we can all agree it’s high time to “Keep gummint hands offa our Medicare!” Also, too, Social Security and the Hooveround Mandate.

  36. 36
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @singfoom: We get different jobs during the course of rolling out state or regional based single payer (no way in hell do I think we national single payer/Medicare for all would pass with a substantially more liberal Congress than the 2009/2010… too many people are still enamored with states as the meth labs of democracy/allowing the Confederacy to Confederate and fuck poor and/or non-white people over for shits and giggles)

  37. 37
    mai naem mobile says:

    NPR played the Reagan clip of ‘ooh,skeery skeery medicare gonna.lead.to soshulism.and slavery.’ Hilarious. Pity since I don’t see teabaggers listening to NPR. I didn’t know medicare is basically what desegregated hospitals. Also, didn’t know the AMA wasn’t at the signing ceremony and the black National Medical Association was there.LBJ was a shrewd mofo.

  38. 38

    Sure, but it will probably keep the name even if the program changes wildly. All of our major social programs have undergone considerable change since their creation, but nobody wants to be the person who “killed” them, so the one thing that won’t change is the name. Just look at how the Republicans wriggle to try to keep the Medicare name even as they’re trying to gut the program.

  39. 39
    shell says:

    @Elizabelle: Always smile when I see my 93 year old mother’s SS number. Not quite Mr. Burns’ #1, but almost as low.

  40. 40
    vooodooo84 says:

    The last four digits of Trumans Soc are 69 69? Really?

  41. 41
    mai naem mobile says:

    @NorthLeft12: Greenspan is a fucking POS. Asshole. Fucker told Reagan to raise SS&&Medicare taxes(worker taxes) to get ready for the.boomers retiring. So we get to 01 with a surplus indirectly from these taxes and asshole tells Bush Jr go ahead redistribute that money to the rich in a form of a tax cut. And, ofcourse he goes on about entitlement reform because some construction worker is going to work till the age of 72.

  42. 42
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @srv: FDL has been on hiatus for 8 months now and I didn’t even miss it. Haven’t been there in years, not since soon after Obama was elected the first time and they lost their collective minds because they didn’t get a pony.

  43. 43
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @shell: That made me laugh; of course srv won’t refuse the gummint moneys.

    My dad, Republican to the last, grumbled loudly about all the expense of the stupid Medicare that his taxes were going to until the day when he started receiving the benefits of Medicare in the form of reduced pharmacy charges, and home health care for Mom, as well as the wheelchair they gave her (on loan) and several other benefits I’ve forgotten. Suddenly Medicare was WONDERFUL!!! He didn’t need the health insurance aspect because when he retired from the City of Los Angeles he had the solid gold Rolls Royce of health coverage as part of his retirement. He could not seem to remember that the rest of us didn’t have that even if we had health insurance, couldn’t understand why his grandson’s insurance had a huge annual deductible.

  44. 44
    chopper says:

    welp, we got a rental ironed out in Seattle so the family is just about ready to rock. just have to find a day care for the boychick.

    had to rent a truck to pack and drive myself, since apparently movers now require you to sell a kidney to afford them. i got a quote for 15,000 fucking dollars from one of em. 15 grand! i can rent a goddamn penske truck for a tenth of that shit.

  45. 45
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    Why am I in moderation at #43? Help?

  46. 46
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @chopper: Where are you moving to and from? $15k? That’s outrageous!

  47. 47
    chopper says:

    @Pie Happens (opiejeanne):

    Atlanta to Seattle.

    best quote i got was about 13K all together. and we don’t have that much stuff, a 22 foot truck at most.

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    My late dad has a book, The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by historian Eric Goldman, which I must read this year. Published in 1969, during LBJ’s lifetime, and while the Vietnam War was still ongoing. My dad served two tours of duty in Viet Nam.

    Great tragedy, that LBJ passed Medicaid and Medicare and the Civil Rights Act and had genuine compassion for those not benefiting from the economy and society of the time. People sneer at The Great Society, but every new system has a learning curve. True every time in our glorious corporations, is it not, but they are not held to the same standard.

    Anyway, all that work and progress, and Vietnam is his legacy, always twinned with his accomplishments.

    So unlike GWB and RWR, who left nothing for those on the fringes (Reagan having kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a dog whistle that would be a dog Klaxon today.)

    Peace to Luci and Lynda Bird, and RIP to LBJ and Lady Bird.

  49. 49
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Appears that some fine examples of white southern manhood decided to share the pride and heritage by spreading four confederate flags on the grounds of a church in Atlanta. The Ebenezer Baptist Church. Described as a black church by the BBC.


    The two maroons were caught on video and apparently they have pretty good descriptions of them. Hopefully they catch them, if only to hear their mealy mouthed, weasely explanations for their actions.

  50. 50
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @chopper: You’re going to be one of us!

    I think it cost us about $5k 5 years ago, Anaheim to Seattle area, and that was a double move because they had to put everything in storage for a month. We got some stuff out of storage as the house became habitable, but the bulk was still there. I think we were on a 22′ truck too, because we did a dramatic paring down for the move.

  51. 51
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @shell: That made me laugh. Of course srv won’t turn down the government’s moneys.

  52. 52
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    Trying this again

    My dad, Republican to the last, grumbled loudly about all the expense of the stupid Medicare that his taxes were going to until the day when he started receiving the benefits of Medicare in the form of reduced pharmacy charges, and home health care for Mom, as well as the wheelchair they gave her (on loan) and several other benefits I’ve forgotten.
    Just like that, Medicare was WONDERFUL!!!

  53. 53
    chopper says:

    @Pie Happens (opiejeanne):

    our move from NYC to the central coast of CA was about $5,000 two years back. why moving companies have tripled their prices in the past two years i have no idea.

  54. 54
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @chopper: Could it be timing? Combination of the college kids sucking up the entire supply of U-Haul/Ryder/Penske/Budget plus a mad dash of families with kids moving before the school year starts?

    I know that there is a massive price spike between the 1st week of August and the Sunday before Labor day for rental trucks in my area, and then things go back to normal on the Tuesday after Labor Day….

  55. 55
    chopper says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    dunno, but our move 2 years ago was at the same time of year.

    might be a locality thing; people aren’t moving out of ATL as much as they’re moving in and around the city, so the moving companies can make way more bank just doing a lot of in-town moves instead of cross-country.

    either way, screw this noise, i’m packing the truck myself. did it last year for the move from CA to ATL (i know, this one next month is our third cross-country move in 26 months. marry a grad student, they said. see the world, they said), and it really wasn’t all that bad. even though i did everything from packing to loading to driving by myself.

  56. 56
    TriassicSands says:

    There is a depressing article in this month’s Harpers about how the GOP is winning the battle to get Medicare and Medicaid privatized. Unfortunately, the PPACA has helped in moving both programs toward reliance on private, for profit insurances companies.

    Somehow Democrats and progressives have to find a way to reverse the trend toward more privatization, but each time the Obama administration OKs a Republican plan to expand Medicaid that relies on private insurance, the closer the Republicans come to getting what they’ve wanted all along.

  57. 57
    Origuy says:


    i got a quote for 15,000 fucking dollars from one of em.

    It’s only 5,000 to take your stuff from Atlanta to Seattle. The other 10,000 is to stop in Oklahoma City and leave it there for a week.

  58. 58
    Origuy says:


    The Ebenezer Baptist Church. Described as a black church by the BBC.

    Not just any black church; MLK’s (Sr and Jr) home church.

  59. 59
    SFAW says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Greenspan is the Bill Kristol of economic policy.


    Greenspan pulled his crap because he was and is a lying, dishonest hack. He and Cheney deserve special places in Hell (FSM grant that it exist!)

    Kristol does it because he is merely fucking stupid.

  60. 60
    SFAW says:


    The other 10,000 is to stop in Oklahoma City and leave it there for a week.

    I’m sure there’s some inside baseball joke there that I’m totally missing.

  61. 61
    SFAW says:

    Re: FDL:

    Eight months to recover from hip replacement surgery? I had bilaterals, and it took me less than half of that – and it’s not like I’m a highly-conditioned athlete. Hamsher needs a better surgeon, or better post-op PT.

  62. 62
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Firedoglake: Good fucking riddance.
    And, in other news, (steeples fingers), Barack Hussein Obama is STILL the 44th President of the United States of America.

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    Just a reminder — Medicare and Medicaid turned fifty today

    This week also marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  64. 64
    carbon dated says:

    I can’t be arsed to scroll through all the replies (sorry!), but just in case no one’s brought it up, there’s not supposed to be a “.” in Harry S Truman.

  65. 65
    mellowjohn says:

    “If you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” –Ronald Reagan

  66. 66
    Kerry Reid says:


  67. 67
    Kerry Reid says:

    @srv: Did Jane’s buddy Grover Norquist shrink it down to the size where it could be drowned in a bathtub?

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