Learn Medicare’s Story: A Short Video Timeline of Medicare’s History, Success & Challenges

Learn the history of Medicare, it’s proceeding debate, the story of its enactment and its numerous modifications since 1965. This 7-minute video produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an excellent visual timeline of this important federal benefit, and also depicts its growing sustainability and cost challenges with rising health care spending, and the ballooning number of baby boomers now becoming eligible for Medicare.

A few interesting facts from the video:

  • 1 million people enrolled in Medicare within the first week of its commencement
  • 56% of elderly had hospital insurance before Medicare
  • 97% of elderly had hospital insurance after Medicare (1970)
  • The number of elderly living in poverty dropped by half within 10 years of Medicare’s commencement (in 1975)
  • The number of Medicare beneficiaries has risen to 47 million as of 2010, up from 21 million in 1970
  • Total Medicare spending has risen from $7 billion in 1970 to $521 billion in 2010


Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.