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Health Care Reform Introduction Prior to 1965 payment for a specific medical service was paid for directly by the recipient of the care or by the recipients insurance company In order to get full coverage or even coverage with a low premium the rates are outrageous For this reason many poor elderly and severely disabled Americans were unable to receive proper medical treatment In 1965 Lyndon B Johnson proposed one of his Great Society programs Medicare Medicare would allow those who were severely disabled elderly or poor to receive quality medical treatment without concern for cost This government-funded program would subsidize the service of physicians inpatient hospital care and some limited home care The subsidy would come from money set aside for Social Security Medicare along with its sister program Medicaid and allow broad access to physician and hospital care to all disabled Social Security recipients for the most part elderly and poor Medicare has two parts A and B Part A which covers all enrollees covers hospital costs only Part B also known as Supplementary Medical Insurance SMI is an optional plan for which a premium is charged The SMI plan covers 80 percent of office visits preventive medicine surgery and diagnostic specialties x-rays etc Medicare however does not cover hospital stays over 60 days extended nursing home care or the cost of lengthy illnesses In the cases where Medicare will not cover costs recipients usually use secondary retirement programs from either pension plans or retirement programs such as AARP American Association for Retired People Those who did not have such plans were had not alternative but to deplete their assets until they qualiffied for the sister program Medicaid Medicaid is a program set up the same as Medicare but primarily for those who fall short of the state-specified income level Costs covered by Medicaid are close to those covered by Medicare differing only by nursing home care and treatment in state mental hospitals
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