Signing of the Medicare Bill. [LBJ Library photo by Unknown. #34897-14]

The 1965 Medicare Amendment to the Social Security Act

Aug 27, 2012

On July 30, 1965, President Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments which established Medicare and Medicaid, promising that they would "improve a wide range of health and medical services for Americans of all ages." Now Presidential hopefuls are debating the fate of federally funded health insurance in very different terms. Because of the current controversy over the future of Medicare, the LBJ Library has created this web page with historical information about the law.

Read President Johnson’s remarks on signing the Medicare legislation.

Read "Making Harry Truman's Dream Come True"—an account of the passage of Medicare from Indomitable Will, by Mark Updegrove [includes a transcript of the telephone conversation between LBJ, U.S. representative Wilbur Mills, and Wilbur Cohen, a key architect of the bill]

Medicare bill signing, Serial Number: 34896-10a, Date: 7/30/65, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri. Download: Medium (0.89 MB) Large (46.6MB) Photo credit: LBJ Library Photo by Unknown.

In January 1966, President Johnson returned to the Truman Library to make a speech and, at that time, presented the first Medicare cards to former President Harry and Bess Truman.

Serial Number: A1786-22, Date:1/20/1966 Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri. Download Medium (102 KB) Photo credit: LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto.

This video consists of MP 334, which is black and white and silent, 30 min., and MP 330, 1:17 minutes long with 40 seconds of audio at the end [beginning at 30:57]. Both are in the public domain. They depict President Johnson signing the Medicare Bill at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, and presenting President Truman with the first Medicare card.