In 1965, Congress created Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. Before Medicare's creation, only half of older adults had health insurance, with coverage often unavailable or unaffordable to the 65+. Older adults had half as much income as younger people and paid nearly three times as much for health insurance. Medicare also championed the integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, and physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional upon desegregation.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum and gave the first two Medicare cards to Truman and his wife Bess to honor the former president's fight for government health care while in office