Is Medicare a Right or a Privilege?

By Elder Law Attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Chicagoland.

Many U.S. citizens assume that Medicare is their right. They assume that the health reimbursement program that is provided by the United States government has always been there and always will be. But this is not the case

The federal government’s role of providing America’s seniors with some degree of financial security began with the Social Security Act of 1935. In its original form, Social Security was designed to provide a retirement benefit for a worker, to be drawn on when that worker reached the age of 65 – the age established as “normal retirement age.” Later added to this program were benefits for unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation due to injuries sustained on the job, and personal disability and survivor benefits for a deceased worker’s family.

In 1965, the Medicare Act was signed into law. The purpose of this legislation was to provide affordable healthcare for older Americans, as well as to prevent the impoverishment of seniors due to health-care costs. The Medicare Act was part of a number of reforms implemented by President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic majority. President Johnson stated:

“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime  so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles and their aunts. And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

So what exactly is Medicare? In its most basic form, Medicare is a federal health insurance program for persons age 65 or older, persons of any age with permanent kidney failure, and certain disabled persons. The Medicare program covers Americans age 65 and over, regardless of their income and their assets, as well as certain disabled individuals under the age of 65. The Medicare program does not provide medical care directly, but instead it pays doctors and hospitals directly for their services or reimburses patients who have paid bills themselves.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. 

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