Thursday Open Line

The national government’s broad involvement in individual health insurance goes back to this date 50 years ago. That’s when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments, which established Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation was introduced in Congress in March 1965, and went through more than 500 amendments before being passed by large majorities in both the House and Senate. In January 1966, President Johnson handed the first Medicare cards to former President Harry Truman — who had advocated such a program — and his wife, Bess. Today, the Medicare system covers some 54 million Americans. The 65-and-older population in the U.S. nears 45 million and is expected to reach over 98 million by the year 2060. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <>.