The Great Society legislation was initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in hopes of ending poverty, crime, inequality and improving the environment. With hopes of a reelection, President Johnson announced the biggest social reform in our history.
He started in March of 1964 by trying to bridge the gap for underprivileged and break the poverty cycle. This is when he initiated the Economic Opportunity Act by creating Job Corps for more than 100,000 men by helping them receive an education and job training.
He continued by creating work study and work training programs helping another 140,000 Americans. Other programs created that focused solely on the “war on poverty” where the community action program that was to help people end poverty in their own local communities, loans for employers who offered jobs to unemployed, funds for farmers and help for unemployed parents.
A few other huge programs he helped develop were Medicare and Medicaid. This made it possible for the elderly and the poverty-stricken families to receive medical attention.
Head starters and education reform were also initiated to help make sure that children had a chance at success no matter their family’s wealth level. This bill funded preschool programs, school libraries, purchased textbooks and helped with special education services. This was just the start he also created low-income housing, gave support for arts and humanities and started environmental initiatives.
The component of the Great society that I am going to focus on is health care. With the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 Lyndon B.
Johnson helped secure health care for the poverty stricken and elderly. While this was a huge help to those people in societ,y it created problems that have been long lasting. These issues include inflation of medical costs while also creating doubt that a universal healthcare system was realistic. While most of president Johnsons programs ended or were drastically altered the Medicare and Medicaid program has essentially remained the same.
The Medicare program was started in hopes that eventually this would lead to a universal healthcare system. However, instead of leading to a universal system, it has only evolved in to a Medicaid expansion only recently. The biggest problem with Medicare is that most of its recipients are elderly. What this means for the economy is that each year these elders get sick and they need testing and medications that our government must pay for. To make up for those costs the government must turn around and up the price of the premiums for the insurance itself. The insurance offered by employers is often lost when the elders retire therefore leaving more than 64% of elderly with no health insurance in 1964. This left these people to either avoid getting treatment or seek funds from family or outside sources to help. Since the start of Medicare in 1965 less than 1% of all adults is covered by some form of health insurance.
Medicare and Medicaid programs aside from providing healthcare for ordering and disabled persons also did something, it changed racial segregation within hospitals and healthcare in general. It also increased the life expectancy rate by 5 years and helped children who were able to receive media attention grow into healthier individuals. Initially, Medicare and Medicaid would only cover hospital and doctor’s office services, but expanded over time to include prescription medication costs and moving in to covering the cost of nursing home facilities for elderly who could no longer care for themselves.
I think that health insurance is extremely important for all ages. However, I can’t say I agree that a universal healthcare system is the way to go. I live on the border of Canada, who does have a universal healthcare system. While I think that it’s great that they all can have health care coverage it does have its down side. With the shortage of doctors in Canada and the United States, we would see extreme wait times to get into these physicians. I, personally, do referrals for Canadian patients who come to our office and their wait time to see an orthopod, dermatologist, cardiologist etc. Can take any where from 12 to 18 months. I think if America initiated a universal health care system we too would see an increase in wait time to see providers thus only changing the issue in our healthcare system.