Medicare is an issue near and dear to PBS host Bill Moyers. He was, after all, a key aide to President Lyndon Johnson when the health program was developed and passed in Congress. With Medicare marking its 47th anniversary last week, Moyers shared his thoughts about the program, and how he says it can be saved.

Moyers & Company:

… 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.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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