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Medicare Celebrates 49th Birthday Today

Links below the news report to information, images, recordings on history of the program that are kept by Social Security and Medicare

July 30, 2014 - It was forty-nine years ago that President Lyndon B. Johnson went to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri to have the former president, Harry Truman, join him for the signing of the bill establishing Medicare, or as the record shows then, the “Supplementary Medical Insurance Program Under the Social Security Act.” The information and downloads below report or from Social Security and Medicare.

The Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law on July 30, 1965. President LBJ is pictured at the signing ceremony in Independence, Missouri at the Truman Library. Former President Truman is seated beside him. LBJ held the ceremony there to honor President Truman's leadership on health insurance, which he first proposed in 1945.

At the bill-signing ceremony President Johnson enrolled President Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card. Below a photograph of President Truman's application for the optional Part B medical care coverage, which President Johnson signed as a witness. SSA History Archives.

You can read LBJ's speech at the signing ceremony and listen to his taped conversations relating to CMS programs. Key speeches and press conference excerpts from other President's are also available. See the links in the Downloads section below.

The most significant legislative change to Medicare - called the Medicare Modernization Act or MMA - was signed into law by another President from Texas, George W. Bush, on December 8, 2003. This historic legislation added an outpatient prescription drug benefit to Medicare and made many other important changes. You can read his speech at the signing ceremony and see pictures of the event at the White House web site. See the links in the Downloads and Related Links Outside CMS sections below.


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Oral histories of former Secretaries, Administrators, Members of Congress and other important players in the history of CMS programs are available as well as more oral histories and other CMS related-materials on the SSA web page. See the links in the Downloads and Related Links Outside CMS sections below.

Since 1965, a number of changes have been made to CMS programs. A more detailed listing of those changes is at CMS milestones. Moreover, the agencies charged with implementing the programs have changed as well.

See agency history for more information about Medicare's early days in Social Security, Medicaid's early days in the Social and Rehabilitative Services Administration, and why they were joined together into one agency in 1977. Learn why CMS headquarters is located in Baltimore County, Maryland and how it was almost moved to the City of Baltimore. See the links in the Downloads and Related Links Outside CMS sections below.

How the Congress Voted on Passage of Medicare in 1965

Summary of Party

Affiliation on Medicare Vote

























H.R. 6675, The Social Security Admendments of 1965, began life in the House Ways & Means Committee where it passed the Committee on March 23, 1965 (President Johnson issued a statement in support of the bill after the favorable Committee vote) and a Final Report was sent to the House on March 29, 1965. The House took up consideration of the bill on April 7th, and passed the bill the next day by a vote of 313-115 (with 5 not voting).

The Senate Finance Committee reported the bill out on June 30th and debate began on the Senate floor that same day, concluding with passage on July 9, 1965 by a vote of 68-21 (with 11 not voting).

The Conference Committee to reconcile the differing bills of the two houses completed its work on July 26th. The reconciled version of H.R. 6675 then went to final passage in the House on July 27th and final passage in the Senate the following day. (The detailed vote tallies on final passage are reproduced below.)

President Johnson signed the bill into law at a special ceremony in Independence, Missouri on July 30, 1965.

Downloads at Medicare & Social Security

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Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

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