[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 124, 111th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

 
PROCLAMATION 8544--JULY 30, 2010

Proclamation 8544 of July 30, 2010
45th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law
on July 30, 1965, millions of Americans and about half our Nation's
seniors lacked health care coverage, unable to afford basic health care
services or weather a medical emergency. The signing of Medicare forged
a promise with older Americans--that those who have contributed a
lifetime to our national life and economy can enjoy their golden years
with peace of mind and the security of reliable medical insurance.
Medicaid created an essential partnership between the Federal Government
and the States to provide a basic health care safety net for some of the
most vulnerable Americans: low-income children, parents, seniors, and
people with disabilities. Forty-five years later, we must ensure this
inviolable trust between America and its citizens remains stronger than
ever.
Medicare and Medicaid support longer, healthier lives and economic
security for some of the neediest among us. Since their expansion in
1972, Medicare and Medicaid have covered millions of people with
disabilities, protecting individuals who otherwise might not have access
to affordable health coverage. Today, Medicare provides over 47 million
Americans with dependable medical insurance, and is the largest health
care provider in our Nation. State Medicaid programs provide health and
long-term care coverage to more than 56 million low-income Americans.
With too many communities stricken by the economic crisis, Medicaid
provides a critical support for those struggling to raise healthy
families or cope with illness or injury. No American should be one
illness away from financial ruin, and we must continue to keep Medicare
and Medicaid strong for the millions of beneficiaries who rely on these
vital safety nets.
Medicare is not simply an entitlement program that starts at age 65--it
is earned over a lifetime. The health care reforms in the landmark
Affordable Care Act (ACA) renew and strengthen our pledge to America's
seniors and families, ensuring Medicare and Medicaid will be there when
they need it. Guaranteed Medicare benefits will not change, and
participants will see greater savings, improved quality, and increased
accountability in their health care coverage.
My Administration is taking steps to extend the life of the Medicare
trust fund and to slow the growth of Medicare costs. The ACA helps
accomplish this by addressing overpayments to insurance companies that
operate Medicare Advantage plans; aggressively fighting waste, fraud,
and abuse; and better coordinating the care of individuals with chronic
conditions. The ACA also helps seniors and people with disabilities in
Medicare who fall in the Part D coverage gap for prescription drug
costs, or the ``donut hole,'' and Medicare beneficiaries who reach the
donut hole this year are receiving a $250 rebate. Additionally,
beneficiaries will see 50 percent discounts on brand name drugs in the
coverage gap starting next year, and an end of the coverage gap
altogether by 2020. To encourage health maintenance, the ACA enables
Medicare to provide a free annual physical examination and other ef-

[[Page 4670]]

fective preventative care services, like certain colorectal cancer
screenings and mammograms, with no co-pays or deductibles. Through focus
on preventative care, increased efficiencies, and better management, the
ACA is modernizing the health care system to make it work better for
older Americans.
As President, I will protect the promise of Medicare and Medicaid, and
make sure they continue to be strong and solvent for our children and
grandchildren. As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of these critical
programs, we reflect on a moment when our Nation made an enduring
commitment to care for those who have given the most to our society, and
those living in poverty. Let us continue protecting Medicare and
Medicaid so older Americans can age with dignity, and so all Americans
can live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 30, 2010, as the
45th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. I call upon all Americans to
observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that
recognize the vital safety net that Medicare and Medicaid provide for
millions of Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of
July, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
BARACK OBAMA