For Immediate Release
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APHA Marks 45th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Washington , D.C. , July 30, 2010 – “Today, the public health community recognizes the 45th anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid program, a significant milestone in the nation’s health system that offers affordable health coverage to Americans over 65 and others on disability as well as low income eligible beneficiaries.

“Since the Medicare and Medicaid Bill of 1965 was first signed into law, these vital programs has been instrumental in shaping our health care system. This anniversary is particularly noteworthy because the Affordable Care Act presents the nation with a new opportunity to improve care for millions of older Americans and their families.

“Under the new health reform law, Medicare will offer guaranteed no-cost preventive screening services such as mammograms and colonoscopies to beneficiaries, provide free annual wellness check-ups and, take steps to close the so-called “donut-hole” in prescription drug coverage for seniors. Additionally, it will expand Medicaid to all low income Americans and is expected to cover an additional 16 million people by 2019.

“APHA will continue to advocate strongly to strengthen the safety-net of both Medicare and Medicaid programs and ensure all beneficiaries stay informed about the changes and improvements to the quality, affordable coverage they deserve.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at