About half a century ago, organized medicine and the hospital industry in this country struck a deal with Congress that in retrospect seems as audacious as it seems incredible: Congress was asked to surrender to these industries the keys to the United States Treasury.
In return, the industries would allow Congress to pass a 1965 amendment to the Social Security Act, described as “an act to provide a hospital insurance program for the aged under the Social Security Act with a supplementary health benefits program and an expanded program of medical assistance, to increase benefits under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance System, to improve the Federal-State public assistance programs, and for other purposes.” We have come to know it as Medicare.
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