Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Representative Garamendi Celebrates 48th Anniversary of Medicare Being Signed into Law

July 30, 2013
Press Release

Click here to watch video of Garamendi offering a personal perspective on the importance of Medicare based on his experiences in childhood and as an Insurance Commissioner

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), who served as California’s Insurance Commissioner for eight years and who was a health care advisor for President Clinton, marked the 48th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare. President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law on July 30th, 1965.

“I grew up on a ranch in rural California in the 1950s before the days of Medicare,” Representative Garamendi said. “One day, my father took me to the county hospital – a horrific experience. There were wards filled with dozens of elderly men and women receiving little to no care, just warehoused to die. Another day, while my dad and I were chasing cattle, we came upon an older neighbor who had a huge growth on his mouth. It was cancer. He was uninsured, and he died shortly thereafter.”

Garamendi continued, “Then, this country did something that was incredibly smart and compassionate. We enacted Medicare, providing health care security for seniors and people with disabilities. Today, we celebrate its tremendous success in helping millions of Americans live longer, healthier lives.”

“I have and will continue to vigorously support Medicare, because every American deserves to live out their golden years with dignity,” said Garamendi. “I voted for the health care reform law, which was endorsed by the AARP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. The health law improves Medicare’s solvency and expands benefits for seniors. The law extends the Medicare Trust Fund by nearly a decade. It creates significant savings for many seniors by providing discounts on prescription drugs for those in the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap and by providing free Medicare coverage for key preventative care services.”

Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, Californians with Medicare have saved $574 million on prescription drugs. In 2012 alone, 299,896 California residents saved over $184 million or an average of $609 per enrollee. Furthermore, in 2012 alone, 2,153,101 Californians with traditional Medicare saved money by using one or more free preventative services.

Click here to read Representative Garamendi’s op-ed opposing a voucher plan that would increase costs for seniors and supporting reforms that would further extend Medicare’s solvency without touching benefits.