Happy Birthday, Medicare!

Rodney Brooks
November 4, 2021

More than 50 years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, saying at the time, “I’ll spend the goddamn money,” he said. “I may cut back on tanks – but not on health.”

The story behind Medicare’s birth in Independence, Missouri, detailed here, reveals that LBJ called former President Harry Truman “The real daddy of Medicare.” (LBJ signed Medicare into law in Independence specifically to honor Truman’s effort to create national health insurance.) Truman became the first Medicare enrollee and Truman’s wife Bess got America’s second Medicare card – at the time, the monthly Part B premium was $3.

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Authored By Rodney A. Brooks

TRAFOTFBThe author tells the history of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, how it grew much too quickly, why it failed and the impact on Black America. The Freedman’s Bank offered a safe depository for formerly enslaved people, expanded quickly and gained millions in deposits – mostly ranging from $5 to $50. But inexperience and corruption doomed it to failure, costing may of the small depositors their savings.

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“Rodney A. Brooks’ ‘Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap’ is one of the best written and most prescriptive books I’ve read on this prickly subject. Using powerful stats, stories and insightful wisdom, it is written from the heart, mind, body and spirit … plus years of research and thought as a mainstream journalist, Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap is revealing, humorous, instructive and sobering.” – Dr. George C. Fraser

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