Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 years old on Thursday. Interestingly, if the programs were people they'd be too young for Medicare and too wealthy for Medicaid.
Many health professionals are celebrating the anniversary, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "The 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid provides an important opportunity for us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played in protecting the health and well-being of millions of families," Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a press release. "Today, Medicare and Medicaid are creating a health care system that is better, smarter, and healthier – setting standards for how care is delivered."
But not everyone is celebrating the anniversary. "Medicare has a sick underbelly," David Hogberg, a health care policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said in a press release. "Exposing the problem and reporting the true facts about this program should be the media's main focus." Hogberg wrote a book sharing stories of patients harmed by Medicare, including one doctor who had to close his practice because of the program, despite the practice's success with diabetes patients.
Whether you're celebrating or lamenting 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid, here are eight graphs that tell you what the programs are about, and where they're headed.