The Social Security Amendments of 1965 (The Medicare Act), July 30, 1965
Several attempts to create a federal health insurance program failed in Congress before the Medicare Act passed in 1965. Instrumental in its passage was Representative Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Despite his own initial reservations, Mills crafted and championed the final bill.
General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration
In the 1960s public attention focused on rising health care costs for the elderly. Congress responded in 1965 with the Medicare Act to provide seniors with medical insurance. Medicare was an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935, becoming the first major addition to the landmark law. When it was enacted, 36 million senior citizens immediately benefited from the Medicare program.
I believe the enactment of this bill will do more to reassure our old people than anything that has happened in my lifetime; not only the older people but the young people who are worried about them.
Representative Hale Boggs of Louisiana, March 26, 1965