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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

BATON ROUGE – Today, we mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, programs representing a solemn compact between our nation and its people, guaranteeing dignity and security for our fellow citizens after a lifetime of work and responsibility. Prior to the creation of the Medicare program, one-third of our senior citizens lived in poverty. The success of the Medicaid program, an earned benefit that hard-working Americans pay into every day, has brought that appalling figure down to 10 percent. And with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the life of our Medicare trust fund has been extended — ensuring the program will be there to honor our commitment to future generations.

In Louisiana, where Republican obstructionism and stubbornness continues to deny 290,000 working citizens access to health care coverage, Rep. John Bel Edwards is fighting to expand Medicaid. His proposal advocates sound financial policy and basic Christian decency, and would bring in $9 for every dollar the state spends. Despite the proven, enduring success of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, more than 17 percent of Louisiana citizens remain uninsured.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, and celebrate all those programs have done to lift people out of poverty, we have to recognize that work still remains to be done,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Leaders like John Bel Edwards are fighting to protect Louisiana families, and to bring the federal tax dollars we’re paying out back into the state to help those most in need.”

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