From Theodore Marmor’s book The Politics of Medicare:
“Medicare,” a term that originally referred to the comprehensive healthy program run for servicemen’s families by the Defense Department, was a misleading slogan for the King-Anderson bill [an early proposal for the current program]. “Hospicare” would have been a more appropriate epithet. [Page 43-44.]
Actually, as it turned out, “Medicare” was just fine because an outpatient benefit–not just an inpatient one–was incorporated into the program from the start.
It’s amazing how quickly Medicare was implemented.
On July 30, 1965 President Johnson signed the Medicare bill into Public Law 89-97, at the ceremony in Independence, Missouri. [Page 56.]
The program began eleven months later, on July 1, 1966. That’s impressively rapid implementation. In contrast, the ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 but the main provisions that will substantially reduce the size of the uninsured population–Medicaid expansion and the opening of exchanges–won’t be implemented until 2014. Admittedly, the ACA is a more complex law, with more moving parts and requiring much at the state level, but four years from enactment until implementation seems unnecessarily long, apart from budget gaming considerations.