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July 28, 2015

Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and US Health Policy

Author Affiliations
  • 1Editor in Chief, JAMA
JAMA. 2015;314(4):353-354. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8587

In 1965, Medicare and Medicaid transformed health care in the United States. Elderly, poor, and disabled individuals were guaranteed health insurance coverage, and with it access to physicians, hospitals, other services, and important advances in medicine. Almost 50 years later, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced with the intent to ensure that all Americans are guaranteed health insurance coverage and with it access to a similar set of services. Although the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid was contentious and met with skepticism by many, including physicians, ultimately it became embedded in US society. Whether the same will be true for the ACA remains unclear. This theme issue of JAMA is dedicated to recognizing 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid.