Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Medicare turns fifty

Fifty years ago this week, aging in America was forever changed for the better.

At the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new law creating Medicare and Medicaid. Sitting beside him was former President Harry Truman, who would become Medicare’s first beneficiary – some two decades after he first proposed a similar health care system.

On July 1, 1966, more than 18 million American seniors joined him.

Before the passage of Medicare, a third of our nation’s seniors lived in poverty. Only half had health insurance, and for those that did, insurance usually only covered visits to the hospital. Many faced discrimination based on age, preexisting conditions, and race.

Now, thanks to Medicare, 54 million seniors and people with disabilities have access to guaranteed healthcare benefits. Medicare helped to cut the poverty rate of seniors in half by 1973—less than ten years after its passage.

Medicare completed the promise made by the Social Security Act, passed three decades earlier: that in old age, Americans won’t be on their own. We as a country have a duty to make sure that people who have worked hard their entire lives spend their twilight years with their grandchildren, not worrying about medical bills.

And Medicare was so much more than a public health bill—it was also a civil rights bill.

Before Medicare, health care in America was highly segregated. African Americans went to the hospital far less often than white Americans, and when they were admitted, they were treated to separate and substandard care.

The passage of Medicare brought the desegregation of southern hospitals. More than 1,000 hospitals were integrated in less than four months after the passage of Medicare, and the disparities in health between black and white Americans shrank.

However, our work to end disparities in health care did not and cannot end with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid five decades ago. Access to affordable health care in America remains segregated along race and class lines. The uninsured rate is up to four times higher for African Americans and Latinos than whites.

Over the past five decades we have worked to improve Medicare, and make it work even better for our seniors. Hospice care is now a covered benefit. We have added a significant number of preventive services. And the recent health care law made additional improvements to Medicare – like expanding free preventive care services and closing the prescription drug coverage “donut hole” by 2020.

Fifty years from now, I have little doubt that we will be celebrating the 100th birthday of an even stronger Medicare.

Sherrod Brown is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio.

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Senator Sherrod Brown

Contributing Columnist

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