It was passed in 1965 in response to the lack of affordable health insurance options available to people aged 65 and over. The democratic majority in Congress passed the law and it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was the first American program to provide medical insurance to the nation’s aged population and it has consistently been under attack from the far right in the United States as a “socialist” program.
Medicare is a public insurance program with administrative costs of 3%. Its coverage extends to 80% of covered medical costs; the remaining 20% of cost must be paid by other means, such as privately-held supplemental insurance (Medigap), or paid by the patient.