BILL MOYERS: I read a news story this week that sent me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. This past Monday, July 30th was the 47th anniversary of Medicare, and to celebrate it, the “Raging Grannies,” as they’re known, gathered outside the county office building in Rochester, New York to protest rumored cuts to their Medicare coverage.

RAGING GRANNIES: This old grey granny now needs a test or two --

BILL MOYERS: They praised Medicare in song as “the best deal we have in the country,” and even called for expanding it Medicare into universal health care for everyone.

It seems the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was coming up from Washington to raise funds for Republican congressional candidate Maggie Brooks. The “Raging Grannies” wanted to make certain Ms. Brooks didn’t sign on to the GOP budget which includes cuts to Medicare.

For myself, the “Raging Grannies” channeled a familiar voice, the Texas twang of my boss back in 1965, Lyndon Baines Johnson. I was a White House assistant at the time and had been working with the President and others on the team trying to get Medicare through Congress. Even with overwhelming Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, it was one tough fight. Others had tried before us.

In his 1948 State of the Union message, President Harry Truman said:

HARRY TRUMAN: This great Nation cannot afford to allow its citizens to suffer needlessly from the lack of proper medical care. Our ultimate aim must be a comprehensive insurance system to protect all our people equally against insecurity and ill health.

BILL MOYERS: But every time Harry Truman proposed legislation to do just that, Congress refused to budge. In the 1960s, John F. Kennedy took up the cause:

JOHN F. KENNEDY: Our working men and women, instead of being forced to ask for help from public charity, once they are old and ill, should start contributing now to their own retirement health program through the Social Security System…

BILL MOYERS: But his proposal failed in the Senate by just two votes.

On the other side, actor Ronald Reagan, still in private life, had signed on as the American Medical Association’s hired spokesman in their campaign against Medicare. Doctors’ wives organized thousands of small meetings in homes around the country, where guests listened to a phonograph record of Reagan deploring the evils of “socialized medicine”:

RONALD REAGAN: Behind it will come other Federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country […] until one day, as Norman Thomas said […] you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.

BILL MOYERS: But now, it was Lyndon Johnson’s turn. Tragically thrust into the White House by Kennedy’s assassination, LBJ, the son of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Harry Truman’s Fair Deal, vowed to finish what they had started. He pushed us relentlessly to get it done. Here he is talking to his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, in early March of 1965:

LYNDON JOHNSON: They are bogged down. The House had nothing this week, all ---damn week. Now that’s where you and Moyers and Larry O’Brien have got to find something for them. And the Senate had nothing […] so we just wasted three weeks […] Now we are here in the first week in March, and we have just got to get these things passed […] I want that program carried. And I’ll put every Cabinet officer behind you. I’ll put every banker behind you. I’ll put every organization we got behind you […] I’ll put the labor unions behind you.”

BILL MOYERS: About all he had left was the White House kitchen sink, and pretty soon he threw that behind us, too.

Later that March he called me to talk about a retroactive increase in Social Security payments that we were supporting. I had argued for it as a stimulus to the economy. LBJ said okay, but reminded me that social security and Medicare were about a lot more than economics:

LYNDON JOHNSON: My inclination would be […] that it ought to be retroactive as far back as you can get it […] because none of them ever get enough. That they are entitled to it. That that's an obligation of ours. It's just like your mother writing you and saying she wants $20, and I'd always sent mine a $100 when she did. I never did it because I thought it was going to be good for the economy of Austin. I always did it because I thought she was entitled to it. And I think that's a much better reason and a much better cause and I think it can be defended on a hell of a lot better basis […] We do know that it affects the economy […] But that's not the basis to go to the Hill, or the justification. We've just got to say that by God you can't treat grandma this way. She's entitled to it and we promised it to her.

BILL MOYERS: LBJ kept that promise. He pushed and drove and cajoled and traded, until Congress finally said yes. And so it was that 47 years ago, we traveled to Independence, Missouri, the hometown of Harry Truman, and there with the former president at his side, LBJ signed Medicare into law. Turning to Truman, whom he called “the real daddy of Medicare, ” Johnson signed him up as its first beneficiary. Harry Truman was 81.

All this was high drama, touched with history, sentimentality, politics, and compromise. A whole lot of compromise. The bill wasn’t all LBJ wanted. It was, in fact, deeply flawed. There were too few cost controls, as some principled conservatives warned, who were then rudely ignored. Co-pays and deductibles remain a problem. And we didn’t anticipate the impact of new technology, or the impact of a burgeoning population.

In fact, even as he signed the bill we still weren’t sure what all was in it. As LBJ himself once told me, never watch hogs slaughtered before breakfast and never, never, never show young children how legislation gets enacted.

But Lyndon Johnson had warned: “We will face a new challenge and that will be what to do within our economy to adjust ourselves to a life span and a work span for the average man or woman of 100 years.”

That longevity, and the cost, are what we must now reckon with. As the historian Robert Dallek has written, Medicare and Medicaid, the similar program for the very poor, “…did not solve the problem of care at reasonable cost for all Americans”, but “the benefits to the elderly and the indigent…are indisputable.” And there’s no going back, current efforts notwithstanding. A new study in the journal Health Affairs finds that Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older are more satisfied with their health insurance, have better access to care, and are less likely to have problems paying medical bills than working-age adults who get insurance through employers or purchase coverage on their own.

So sing on, Raging Grannies, sing on. The surest way to save so popular and efficient a health care system is to make it available to everyone.

RAGING GRANNIES: Everybody in and nobody out, single-payer Medicare for all.

Bill Moyers Essay: Everyone Should Be Entitled to Medicare

Bill shares his thoughts on the 47th anniversary of Medicare — the apex of Lyndon Johnson’s ambitious vision for America. Bill was a key Johnson aide as they developed Medicare and pressed Congress to pass it. How to save Medicare today? The answer, says Bill, is obvious: make it available to every American.

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  • Joy

    I wanted to watch this but was unable to make the video run. :-/ I’m using Firefox on a Mac. The option to click on play is there but when I do so nothing happens.

  • Patrick R. Saunders

    Johnson’s comments show a world of difference between then and now, for obviously LBJ felt a real obligation to those who are elderly, sick and disabled, and also those who were poor, to provide decent healthcare for them. His analogy about sending money to his momma, not because it was good for the economy, but because it was the right thing to do, is something that is lacking today in the Republican Party and also amongst some Democrats. We get wrapped up in the economy and forget that more people are living near or at the poverty line now, than ever before. We should be talking about Matthew 25, and not about cutting taxes on the rich, for what we do now, will come home to us later on in life. Medicare for all is the only way and it should be done as soon as possible. Time to take the profits out of healthcare for the 1%, and spread its benefits to the 99%.

  • Terrence

    This is a powerful and timely comment from a giant among us. Thank God for Bill Moyers, LBJ, Truman, Kennedy, and the many Liberals who have made our Nation great. PS – I am a former GOP office holder who has made the search for truth my personal religion and my life’s work.

  • Randydeanw

    Bill, at some point at length, I’d like to write you a letter, to let you know how important you have been in making me the man I am today. I’m so indebted to you, as are millions of Americans. The scope of your contributions and work has helped shift the dominant paradigm in so many ways for so many people. For now, I’d just like to say simply, thank you!!

  • Patricia Elgee

    Being 65 and now on Medicare, I can tell you that with the co-pays, it is still too expensive and still beyond my means to have major medical coverage. Proceedures are in the thousands, so to pay hundreds each month, then still be stuck with 20% puts care out of my range. Then I do not have lobbyist, so I suppose the elected do not care if I expire on the sidewalk.

  • Anonymous

    Patricia, I too am on Medicare so am not understanding your comment, that medicare is too expensive, compared to what? How can you be paying “hundreds” each month and not have coverage. Perhaps you need to go to your local senior center and have it explained to you..

  • Greyoma

    I see that congress is going home for 5 weeks paid vacation with a pjob not done! I don’t get to have 5 weeks of paid vacation when my job did not get done.

  • Beth Lowe

    I think we need to resurrect Oscar R Ewing and Charlie Hallack!!! What do you think?

  • Jim Moran

    Another winner. Best part of Friday evening is Bill’s show, and the best part of that is often his commentary/essay at the end, the absolute antithesis in its reasoned approach and tone to the huffing harangues that pass as commentary from the right. I would love to see Mr. Moyers in an extended debate with one of the right wing fear-mongering revisionists who try to pervert U.S. history to their own ends. This is what happened, told by someone who was there, this is why it happened, and this is its result. Bravo once again, Bill!

  • Margaret Jones

    I remember that day, too, Bill. Thank you so much for reminding us, and for helping get Medicare through Congress. The pendulum always swings back, and one day our Congress will again care about the people. Not sure either you or I will live long enough to see it, but it WILL occur. I am happy to see that historians now rank LBJ in the echelon of ‘Great Presidents”, as he should be. Vietnam isn’t his total legacy; Medicare and the passage of the Civil Rights act are what I remember him for . . .
    after hating him for far too long.

  • Margaret Jones

    I agree with ‘cozumeldeb’, how on earth are you having to pay “hundreds each month”? I’m on Medicare, and I think you need some assistance to figure this out. Medicare’s the best thing that ever happened to the elderly since Social Security 80 yrs ago.

  • Harold

    The U.S. mortality rate ranks us 57th in the world! What happened to the # 1 power in the world? Clearly the corporate few who govern their government (which once was ours!) doesn’t give a damn about the American people, whose sacrifices have enabled the elite to live in their rarefied atmosphere of wealth and power!

  • Jeff Joseph

    Your statement should be read out loud in every church and temple and mosque in the USA . Well said . And I am a non believer.

  • Jeff Joseph

    Get Medicare Advantage before Obama kills it.

  • Bewildered Aussie

    Try Safari – what version of the Mac system are you using?

  • Sharon TM

    Once again I need to thank you Mr Moyers for reminding us that there was a time when it was not considered completely foolish to care about the welfare of others. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I will be 61. I know that the stress of my current job is having an impact on my health, but I cannot retire because of the cost of maintaining my health insurance coverage. I have a good job with a solid health care plan. I could step aside and let that position go to a younger person…..if I could afford to pay my house payment and my health care.

    I know I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job, health insurance, and a home. What I am most upset about is the way some in our culture wear a lack of compassion as some sort of badge of honor. I am not sure how we will turn this around, but I do know your voice will help us get there.

  • Anonymous

    “…lack of compassion as some sort of badge of honor.”

    Fascinating. I am currently trying to discover whether psychopathy and sociopathy are always “born into” a person or whether they can be learned. There are actually “religions” that purport to be based on the Bible that are training the young in the behaviors of sociopathy and psychopathy. Many people do not realize that religious extremism that demands that the “true religion” either convert or destroy the “others” are having a deleterious effect on our world’s societies — and a very real part of these “religions” or “cults” is a total lack of empathy for any humans who are “the others.” So a Rick Santorum or a MIchelle Bachman is training children to eschew “compassion and loving kindness” as some sort of weirdo,liberal, hippie philosophy that is defined by them as “evil.”

    In other words, being “mean” to other humans, and even animals, can be seen as “holy,” according to the “laws” of their gods. Generally, those people, especially those who possess high intelligence, are incredibly effective bullies — and it is that sort of bullying that is taking over U.S. “politics” today. In my state, the religio-crazy bullies have even tried to pass a law exempting public school students from being punished if their “bullying” is due to their “personal beliefs.” This is a direct challenge to equality of a basic kind, and is designed to allow their children to “gay bully” and “religion bully” other students without consequences. Being cruel and mean is okay if it is what your god insists you must do. I should add that it is not our Muslim communities who are pushing for this legislation.

  • Anonymous

    I know many people, mostly women, who are older than I am (70) whose SS benefit is so small that it is not anything approaching a “living income.” They were the typical “work at home” mothers of their day, and oft times their hubbies did not earn so much money, but were farmers and tradesmen who earned small “incomes” while providing an “enough” living for their families; so even the widow benefits can be $300 – $500 per month. The lucky ones find a HUD assisted apartment and qualify also for some food stamp benefits. I’ve heard that eliminating food stamps for SS beneficiaries is “on the table” and might be supported by the Dems as “compromise.”

    So good for you, Mr. Beohner, et al. Cruelty to the elders will bring you no good Karma, I suspect; and I will do all in my power to stop you.

  • Allen

    You mentioned cost saving measures proposed by conservatives, but not passed, in 1965. Any of those old proposals useful today? I believe most of the improvement to health over the past century is due to a few public health measures (clean water, vaccinations) and antibiotics. Much of this health care can reach the public through primary doctors (internists and family physicians) and nurses,nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants, not the more expensive specialists. So maybe our emphasis should be on universal care by way of health clinics staffed by the primary health caregivers (PHCs). And perhaps we should fully pay for the medical education of the PHCs on condition that they serve for twenty years, say, at health clinics at a salary reasonable for the responsibilities and for the time invested in medical education, say $100,000. In this way we might better select against the mercenary motives of many medical students and against overspecialization.

  • Jeanne

    I’m one of the working poor. Visa covers my medical expenses at a very high percentage rate. It’s the only medical program I qualify for.

  • 19obert63

    Great accomplishment

  • Steven Allen

    If enough people vote for removing the profit motive from the healthcare industry, you will eventually destroy it. If it becomes illegal to generate profit in the healthcare industry, then what will be the next industry to fall, commrade? By the way, if you confiscate 100% of the profit of the 1% then redistribute it to the 99%, America still will not have free healthcare.

  • Mark

    Well said, Jim. Please don’t ever retire again, Bill. We need you.

  • David F., N.A.

    Look at that nerdy looking guy, in the photo, and who’s that standing next to LBJ? hehehe

  • Donna Cohen

    Excellent show tonight! We all need to participate politically.

  • z

    Thank you, Bill!

  • Alec Hudson

    this is what we need, not distractons about endless war for profit and the incarceration nation

  • Bobi6

    I have to add that many people get no vacation time at all and those who do don’t get 5 weeks. It’s very hot in Washington but if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen, Congress.


    The candidates discuss the merits of ObamaCare versus RomneyCare and avoid the conversation of Medicare for all.

    Watch 2 min. animation: MEDICARE FOR ALL!

  • Julie Rist

    GrandmaR, look into prenatal, neonatal, and infant brain development. The human brain is incomplete at birth and extraordinarily experience-dependent for development. It is experience that determines the architecture of neural pathways (healthy or unhealthy). Start with Bessel van der Kolk & Allen Schore.

  • Al

    Every AMERICAM, not just everyone.

  • Jim Telzrow

    Obama care guts Medicare , republicans voted to protect the elderly. Did you forget this minor point bill?

  • Liberalinsc

    Thank you Bill

  • kentucky kid

    I hear you! I am unable to retire in the US to be closer to what’s left of my family. I get excellent coverage is Canada (US$68pm), and it is a good country to live in, but dearly wish I could be closer to those precious to me. Social Security quoted me a price of $780 And that does not cover everything… “I know it’s expensive for you. That would be too expensive for me!” he commented.

  • Anonymous


  • Rev.marilyndixonhil

    Amen! “The right thing to do” Mt.25:37. Its the humane thing. Good

  • Anonymous

    Will This Affect Your Vote?
    3 Republican Presidents—18 years R Senate—12 years R House
    Brief on accomplishments::
    Budget-600 to 3500 (less wjc itsy)
    Debt– 1000 to 10,000
    Deficit—Surplus to 1400 Deficit
    Jobs-218,000 per month to 99,000
    10—initiated our involvement in 10 foreign conflicts where
    hundreds of thousands died and wasted billions
    Smashed the great S&L Industry
    Smashed the Housing Industry
    17 Million manufacturing jobs down to 11 million
    Watched our Manufacturing Industry move overseas
    as Multi Nationals made record profits

    Want more of this?

  • CalvinLeman

    Rocky Anderson is the only candidate who will work for medicare for all.

  • Bryan Glynn

    My father was LBJ’s military aide and valet. Chief Master Sergeant Paul Glynn. President Johnson offered to pay for my grandfather to receive double hip replacement for disabling arthritis as it was not a benefit of my grandfather medical benefit with his DuPont pension. This was before medicare was approved. My grandfather was too proud and only later got the surgery after medicare was in place and he could not get around on his canes..

  • Cappy

    Why not spend the bulk of the medical money on medical care rather than on figuring out who can be denied. Why not allow the country to survive economically rather than crash under medical insurance-driven inflation?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Bill Moyers for being a voice of sanity, compassion, and reminding US exactly why medicare is so desperately needed right now. As a nation we have been so divided that we not only have forgotten what “society” is, but also what role the government actually has in helping US vs. the corporate oligarchy!

    Why is it that WE have been duped into believing that healthcare is not only a privilege deserved by some but that corporations actually have a right to “make a profit off of our health”? Healthcare like education are great equalizers for society, something that everyone should be able to have; because whether we want to believe it or not people showing up at the emergency rooms are paid for by US anyway! WE really do need universal health-care, with cost containments, and no-caps on coverage for all!

  • gay bicycle

    Bill Moyers Essay: Everyone Should Be Entitled to Medicare | Moyers & Company |
    It always rankled me that as I was sitting pretty much bedridden with a bad foot for months on end, watching hour after hour of the Obama/Clinton debates (every single one, along with every one of Obama’s daily speeches), the one lie that Obama told over and over with a straight face was always the comment about HillaryCare (formerly RomneyCare of the Republi-Fascist Heritage Foundation – a scheme only concocted as a phony answer to Kennedy’s call, year after year, for what would essentially be “Medicare for All”, so that the Republi-Fascists would seem to have something of their own to offer in contrast)…I digress…
    The one lie that I so vividly recall was Obama saying in speech after speech, in debate after debate, was that he would be against any “mandates”, not meaning gay or queer encounters, but rather, the “mandates” of HillaryCare, the proposal which had worked so well for the Democrats during the Clinton administration that they promptly, and deservedly, lost Congress for the first time in recent history.
    I gave Obama my trust that he saw the need to save Medicare by forcing the decision into a Medicare for All context because, without the “mandate” to buy so-called “insurance” from a completely corrupt Mafia enterprise (the tycoon at the head of United Health Care (which sells its policies thru the AARP) makes in excess of $100 Million per year, just on his compensation package with stock options/futures etc. not counting his other investments), the whole HillaryCare scheme would fail, and the only option left would be Medicare for All. Yeah, right! Obama has a bridge to sell me, as they say (anyone recall ol’ Bubba’s “Bridge to the 21st Century?”). Yeah, seems like we’re watching a repeat of Clinton minus the blow job from Monica while he was signing the Defense of Marriage Act, I guess.
    What really rankles is the “frat-boy cluelessness” of Obama’s sophomoric management style, the appointment of the Clinton-Mafia, the mainstream Democrats such as Biden who voted for both the Defense of Marriage Act when he found it in his favor to throw queer people under the bus, as well as voting for the Iraq War (as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, standing proud with Joe Leiberman on both issues), not to mention greasing Judge Thomas’ way onto our Supreme Court when Biden headed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Thomas and prevented corroborating testimony to prove Anita Hill’s charges, on the specious assertion that in courts, such corroborating testimony would be treated as inadmissible Character Evidence rather than ADMISSIBLE Evidence of Habit and Custom, which it would have been, even though Judge Thomas was NOT in a courtroom facing charges which had to be proved, but was in a completely different context, in which Judge Thomas himself bore the Burden of Proof to prove his fitness and qualifications prior to his lifetime appointment to the bench where he now sits silently like a brooding, festering sore. But I digress again.
    Yes, I should have known the writing was on the wall, the fix was in, so to speak, when Obama tapped Biden as VP, and then we ended up with a tax-cheating Treasury Secretary and a group of clueless frat-boy yuppies paying full face value for fraudulent schemes, money that isn’t ours but on loan from future generations. When we most needed Obama talking “JOBS JOBS JOBS” (what everyone was aching to hear), Obama missed the golden opportunity to turn the Medicare for All debate into a debate about “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS”, because freeing up American Enterprises from the onerous burden of paying for employees’ health insurance would have improved U.S. global competitiveness at the same time bringing everyone into Medicare for All would have saved Medicare FOR All because it would have brought healthy people into the system and saved costs, costs thrown away on endless advertising, lobbying, and tycoon pay, the largest pieces of the greed/profit-based health care pie. In stark contrast to the CEO of United Healthcare’s more than $100 Million per year is the civil service pay of the CEO of Medicare’s $175,000 per year. That’s why Medicare for All could have come in at half the price as our current system, and been more in line with the European standard of 10% of GNP for health care expenditures vs. 20% of GNP for health care for the corrupt U.S. system that provides, statistically speaking (coverage and outcomes), so much less for double the money that it is and will be unsustainable, allowing for people like Paul Ryan and the Republi-Fascists to now advance arguments and budgets to simply end Medicare for everyone in the future.
    Yes, if Obama had endorsed Medicare for All, he could have hit several targets with a single policy bullet: 1) He could have saved Medicare for Everyone by bringing into the system healthy people who would have been paying premiums for Medicare through taxes at half the amount than the system currently costs; 2) He could have vested everyone in the U.S. with their own Medicare card before the last disastrous election and swung it the other way, because the voters would have heard him arguing “JOBS JOBS JOBS” had he chosen to change the debate into one he could win, and with him, the American People; 3) People who’s health care future depended on the security of Medicare for All would be really resenting Paul Ryan and his plan to kill the program, which all the Republicans voted for in Congress; 4) The lowering of per-patient costs due to the inclusion of younger, healthier people would have made Medicare sustainable into the future, much more so than our current corrupt, fascist system which is costing twice as much as it should, using money borrowed from our future as it were, due to deficit spending.
    So now the Republi-Fascists have upped the ante, and we are faced with a tax cheat, not as Treasury Secretary, but as President, paired up with a man (Paul Ryan) who has based his political existence on ending Medicare for Everyone!
    Slogan for the Democrats: “Vote for Us, we’ll destroy the country SLOWER than will the Republicans!” Now that’s a real incentive! Speaking of slogans, “Where’s the Beef?” the clueless fast food metaphor of clueless Democrats a generation ago, should really be, “Where’s the sustainable way forward?”
    At a historical moment when 2 out of 3 U.S. car companies were insolvent, we could have had Socialized rail, “JOBS JOBS JOBS” in a transportation system built for the next century rather than the last century, and instead got “Cash for Clunkers”. We could have had a sustainable Medicare for All and instead got a Fascist scheme of forcing people to buy crappy products from a completely corrupt industry, and no one bats an eye. Coupled with the Citizens United decision, this simply means that the government can order us to buy anything, and that the purveyors of everything we buy can simply raise prices to charge us for the lobbying, advertising, and propaganda used to further our own defeat on every political front. A nickel more per banana, for instance, may not sound like much, but multiply that by the number of bananas purchased and you’ll see that the United Fruit Company will have some real ammunition to spend on perverting democracy wherever they wish.

  • Chris Bonner

    if you disagree you are a communist

  • Anonymous

    “LBJ kept that promise. He pushed and drove and cajoled and traded, until Congress finally said yes.” One huge difference I note today is the president has nothing to trade and cajole with compared to the $ Billions of private money available to congress. Back in the day projects and Federal largesse was a major factor. Now it means nothing.

  • Lew Matthews

    Those of us who have an active appreciation of politics have icons that we embrace.
    My father loved Reagan. Believe it or not, I too, admired Reagan, for purposes & enactments acknowledged in a later post. But for now, for this purpose, LBJ’s movement for the betterment of society must be no longer ignored. The indigent, poor, elderly, or those who are just between jobs, yet are striving to desperately provide for the families they helm MUST be given some sort of assistance, at least when it comes down to the issue of the health of their family, for the continuance of the family, so the family may have a chance to flourish.
    Medicare is one such aid. So is Medicaid. And, just recently, the Affordable Care Act. Let me go so far as to say LBJ would be proud of the progress we’ve made as a nation in the care we provide for those who need it … Hell, I’d go so far as Reagan wouldn’t have so much as a passing fart on his horse about it … He’d have raised taxes to do it. That’s right … Reagan would have raised taxes. How do I know ? Because he did it 13 times in 8 years. Why? Because it needed to be done, for one reason or another. Not because of ideology. He cut programs, & started the deregulation fad that is so prevalent among those on the right. He (and his cabinet) also had the presence of mind not to enact such draconian measures as to, ultimately over time, destroy that what bouys the U.S. And what is that?
    The middle class.
    With the ever-rising cost of Americans’ health, & the increasing numbers of Boomers entering the times of their lives when their health becomes a major focus of their lives, we are faced with a ticket who either do not understand what it’s like to not have the money to pay for the services needed, or do not care if one gets the care that is needed.

  • Mark Fey

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Albert Lopez

    LBJ Was a Great Texas president they dont make em like that anymore ..You can tell in his voice that he really cared for the elderly a far cry from today’s politicians they are heartless & can be bought for a few bucks !

  • Gretchen Robinson

    “endless war” period

  • Jim

    Terrence, God bless you.

  • William Shirley

    Why would you phrase the question in such absolute terms? Profit is taking more out of a system than you put into it. In physics we learned that in a finite system you cannot continue to take out more than you put in without eventually exhausting the system. In an economic system this results in a recession or depression, which is where we are today. Taking enough profit to expand a business would expand the workforce and generate new revenues for the good of all, by way of maintaining the infrastructure, the educational system etc. Removing that profit from the general economy by investing for personal gain in paper deals, pieces of real estate papers, betting on the failure of mortgage holders while firing thousands of American workers in order to increase profit by hiring the slaves of the Communists will generate a downward spiral of unemployment, falling tax revenues and if you do all this while waging several wars…the system fails. Here we are on the brink of a total collapse of our society as the result of a brand new social order: globalized economies and the wealthy in America seem to think it’s the late 1800’s. The trouble with metaphors is they are incomplete. In this case we aren’t the railroad tycoons, we are the Native Americans taking it in the shorts. The Chinese are in process of taking the role America had for two centuries. This leaves us in the position of a second rate banana republic armed with thousands of nuclear warheads and a military with more arms than the entire rest of the world combined while people actually starve to death…yes, Americans do go hungry and homeless and they do sometimes starve. So “free” healthcare is not an option, but then nobody is offering it…the healthcare the Left is offering is at the price of new taxes for everyone and especially those who can afford it. But you have to have some kind of income to pay taxes and the middle class has less and less as more of the jobs sail east to China and India. The trend is to leave us with body parts to sell and little else. The eventual goal, they say, is one person with all the money who will be crowned Emperor and then assassinated.

  • lasvegascolonel

    I’m currently on Medicare with military healthcare as my supplement. In 50 years, I’ve never had to deal with for profit private insurance. Not only should there be Medicare for all, it IS affordable. As my Canadians friends say, if instead of paying high price private insurance premiums, you pay premiums to Medicare, everyone could have it. No one is saying it is free, you pay premiums, but profit keeps it affodable for all. Medicare is the best federal program, and I also receive Social Security.

  • Jo Ann Vincent

    Bless you & LBJ – thank you for Medicare & Keep fighting for Medicare for ALL

  • Scott Larsen

    A shudder went down my spine when LBJ said “we can’t treat grandma this way.” Love the fact that former president Truman was the first beneficiary of Medicare…

    Biggest irony is the American Medical Association fought Medicare in the ’60’s; today its members reap the biggest monetary gain.

    How times have change.

  • Anonymous

    Can you imagine how much money lobbyist would be throwing at congress to prevent that!

  • Anonymous

    $12,000 per person, trillions in unfunded debt, broke in ten years, loses $100 billion or more a year.

  • davidp

    PBS has a new program on called, Life and Death in Assisted Living….an eye opener.

  • Anonymous

    You bet’cha.

  • Tomi

    Yes, I’ve been saying that Medicare should be made available to EVERYONE and it will strengthen the program. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks that!

  • tony

    it is all old ppl and disabled. one big hi risk pool. get the young folk in it that are healthy. raise taxes to fund it. medicare for all saves $400 billion/yr

  • doggirl

    “LYNDON JOHNSON: My inclination would be […] that it ought to be retroactive as far back as you can get it […] because none of them ever get enough. That they are entitled to it. That that’s an obligation of ours. It’s just like your mother writing you and saying she wants $20, and I’d always sent mine a $100 when she did. I never did it because I thought it was going to be good for the economy of Austin. I always did it because I thought she was entitled to it. And I think that’s a much better reason and a much better cause and I think it can be defended on a hell of a lot better basis […] We do know that it affects the economy […] But that’s not the basis to go to the Hill, or the justification. We’ve just got to say that by God you can’t treat grandma this way. She’s entitled to it and we promised it to her.”

    A great quote by LBJ. This President knew how to fight the good fight on safety net programs and we have not een a president like him since.

    When will we have another president that works so hard to defend programs to help the elderly and poor.

    Obama and Clinton will never make the grade.

  • doggirl

    BTW: A very cute picture of Mr Moyers in his younger days beside the late, great LBJ. Quite a classic to say the least.

  • CCT

    Our family has had to use that safety net (medicare) now for the last decade, and I’m not even close to retirement age. I got cancer at 37 and it is the only thing that has kept us from drowning. I’ve attached a story that my wife wrote on the subject a while ago. It tells a compelling tale about what these types of safety nets are for. As people experience greater and greater stressors in life these public protections will only become MORE important, considering that long-term stress is translating more and more these days to physical damage and disease…


    I’m a Brazilian born woman of latino inheritance that came to the United States in 2003 for an Au­pair program. I was here to learn English and then return with advanced skills for better working opportunities. During my year abroad here I met my husband and we married a short while later. Four months after that he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer (in 2004 at the age of 37). At the time he was approaching a career arc in engineering that would have easily set him as the family breadwinner for the extent of our working years. His role as primary wage earner didn’t end when we went into a six-­month treatment program that year, but it certainly shook the foundation of what our expectations were in terms of working roles.

    A little over a year later he’d recovered enough to start working again, and returned to his former position in design engineering. Two years after that, however, he’d contracted debilitating radiation damage from the prior treatment and had to go back on long-­term disability status. I was working in real estate at the time because of job flexibility and the fact that it offered easily accessible work and growth opportunities for non-­native born women (in particular). And I continued to work in that realm even though we were spiraling into a market meltdown in 2008 when he had to quit.

    We had years to think and work over the idea, but that was the point where we really had to reevaluate and start changing roles. Unlike his first stint on disability, he lost his job this time because of the fact that we couldn’t provide a timeframe for his

    return. Doctors didn’t yet know what the problem was or how to fix it ­ and we were in the middle of a financial crisis that was also affecting profitability for his employer. So they elected to drop him. We had some serious conversations and planning after that about how to put me into the primary role so that he could assume a more “unreliable and unpredictable” (as he so eloquently put it :­)) earning role. I didn’t feel like he was being at all unreliable considering that he was receiving a descent disability wage. Even so, we both agreed that it would be best to ramp me up to take over ­ get me out of real estate and into something with greater stability and growth predictability and potential. Unfortunately that whole plan had to be shelved for a while because of the severity of the financial crisis.

    So ­ staying in real estate during the crisis wasn’t really a choice. Other job prospects were drying up as fast as real estate was crashing. And the reality was that I was still mastering written English at the time, along with gaining valuable US-­based work experience just by having a job. And the flexibility there also provided breathing room for the often and unpredictable doctors visits that we were always making.

    MY BACKGROUND ABROAD was actually in the technical field of ISO quality auditing. But no one here, it seemed, valued my years of work experience abroad as an ISO quality systems auditor or the many certifications that accompanied that. At least not in the locale where we we’re living at the time, which did have a demand for said positions (Portland, OR high tech corridor).

    The culture was different here in that respect as well. Auditors with my skill-set in the US had to have an engineering degree in order to be taken seriously. It was an unwritten rule here even though it was not at all required where I worked in Brazil (or elsewhere in Brazil for that matter).

    During the following crisis years (2008-­12) we really struggled. Practicalities and emergencies tempered our relationship to the point where love remained while passion for one another waned a bit. There was still that candle fire between us. Just not as brightly. My husband relapsed twice during that time. Once in 2010 and then again in 2012. The 2010 treatment involved a very dangerous surgery and a year of chemotherapy, of which it took an additional year for him to recover from. I was juggling my role as the primary “active” wage earner with caregiving for a highly disabled spouse for several years as a result.

    We had my sister’s help for much of that time, but something important became apparent during that period ­ the more I had to be a caregiver the less that people took me seriously as as a business professional. It was already difficult as a working woman with other­-than­-American heritage (and an accent and small stature) during a period of crisis in my profession in the country. But that became amplified as I became less social, “networky,” and tenacious at work. Many, many people knew very well of my work as a realtor ­ friends and acquaintances alike. And they often even knew of our need for the extra income because of all of the medical bills. But they still managed to pass me over in favor of working with others or even strangers, for that matter. My history of professionalism, client advocacy and reliability ­ and even as a good friend ­ were dwarfed by our illness status and that of my attentiveness as a compassionate caregiver. It was much like what great stay-­at-home mothers experience in the US when it comes to their importance and status to working world professionals. They either aren’t taken seriously, or are viewed as subordinate in their roles and level of importance.

    The contrast between Brazilian and American culture became that much more apparent. Careerists are much the same in both places. They tend to respect what you do rather than who you are. “Sooo ­ what do you do for a living.?” But there is a difference in one important detail. Illness in Brazil isn’t seen as the plague like it is here. Forgive my bluntness, but people here act like cancer is contagious as well as uncomfortable and inconvenient. As it becomes more pronounced and common here ­ less so, of course. But I can’t tell you how many times I heard “we didn’t want to bother you,” which seemed to translate to “you’re too distracted to provide us with good service,” or something even harder to swallow, even though I was more efficient and focused because of our situation and need for the money. My time at work was a pleasant distraction from the weight of greater problems at home and therefore very easy to do in comparison.

    It’s 2013 and we’re still in transition with respect to my role as the primary income earner. Ever a work in process. Our relationship, although battered by intensities, has survived mostly because of the fact that we’ve both put whatever we had into it as the one thing that actually mattered. We both worked very hard to hold onto one another in what seemed impossible to overcome. Every transition has been difficult, and every acceptance of reality a challenge. And without work as a preoccupation my husband is often beheld by a lack of purpose much of the time. I, on the other hand, am beheld by what could be considered to be “too much” purpose. But there is no friction between us with respect to role reversal. That pales in comparison to everything else we’ve experienced.

    In the end we sold the house and moved in with my sister­in­law. And I’m in an American MBA program now. Our outlook on the future has changed from being one of sustainability to that of minimalism. And now that our bills have been sizably reduced I finally stopped working in real estate.

    My husband is, of course, insistent upon getting me to where he probably was over a decade or so ago. It’s understandable considering all that we’ve been through and the fact that his disability income is static with respect to inflation. And WE HAVE experienced a substantial reduction in buying power ­ for quality food, utilities, medical insurance and coverage, etc. etc. The two crises of the decade (2001, 2008) were harder on our family than most but we’re still here and kicking.


  • destroyideas

    Did you forget that this is a lie?

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  • Dennis Byron

    Go for it. Then you too can have the same unlimited $1200 deductibles and 20% co-pays with lifetime limits on how much the government will spend on you and no annual physicals or drug coverage and no coverage outside the US that we people on Medicare have. And it only cost us about $300,000 lifetime (NPV) for these great benefits.

  • ray johns

    The Affordable Healthcare Act(Obamacare ) IS “up and running” –over 10 million previously uninsured people have already signed up, paying on time , and happy with it (even republicans) so where have you been?

  • ray johns

    @Dennis Byron , You’ve drunk the kool-aid so much that even your personal ‘photo icon’ has disappeared to grey. lol Get some Obamacare and Medicare facts.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve gone to doctors appointments with my mother on several occasions. She’s nearly 90 now and pretty much all the patients in her various doctors practices are over 65 on medicare. I call many of these offices gucci offices and I don’t see clunkers in the staff parking area. The healthcare industry has figured out how to bill medicare in order to get the income they want. All goes back to those lack of cost controls mentioned in the piece I suspect.

  • Anonymous

    Pegasuswing…… Two things. First, you need to get a medi-gap supplement going. There are many inexpensive ones through AARP, various work related programs and such. Having said that leads me to my second point though. The idea behind only paying 80% was to pay most of the bill but to make sure every person had skin in the game. This has been true since it was inaugurated. In fact, the most recent CBO report I read (around 2002 and under the Bush WH) reiterated the same thing and went so far as to say any gov’t mandated changes to health insurance should require that 20% as well. Their think was that it ensure people chose more wisely in terms of using health care. Now I have some huge arguments with that philosophy as a whole although I understand the principle behind it. I think that when the insurance companies created medi-gap supplemental insurance it all went to hell in a hen basket because it took away not just some of the 20% but all of it. My parents contemporaries (and them included) see a specialist for everything and are one of them at least once a month if not more often. Specialists get paid much more yet are they really necessary after they establish a treatment program? More subjects for discussion.

  • Bruce Basile

    Your medicare facts are not correct.$1200 deductibles?? I pay no deductible with medicare pal !!! Lifetime limits ??? NOPE ! We now pay 0 for Physicals thanks to the ACA preventative care part that is now part of MEDICARE my friend ! How old are you and where did you get this BS ……………….FOX ????