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As Medicare Turns 50, What Will It Take To Strengthen The Popular Program?

GUEST: Dr Garrett Adams is a longtime pediatrician in Louisville, Ky. He is past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, and just wrote an essay on Medicare entitled, “Celebrate Medicare‚Äôs 50th Birthday By Expanding It To All.”

While the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act found that a majority of Americans now support President Obama’s signature health plan, even bigger majorities support the government run plans of Medicare and Medicaid, which turn 50 years old today.

A new Kaiser poll on the two programs found that more than 2/3rds of all Americans support the government funded health programs. Medicare, which provides healthcare for all US citizens aged 65 or older, is more popular than Medicaid, which covers healthcare for poor mothers, children, and the disabled.

Today, about 55 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare. Despite its popularity, it has constantly faced attacks and various attempts have been made over the years to chip away at it But my guest believes that the way to make Medicare better is to expand it.