Victoria M. Rizzo
In 1965, Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act were passed creating Medicare and Medicaid and laying the foundation for U.S. health policy. Medicare was originally created to meet the specific medical needs of the elderly. Currently, however, individuals with end stage renal disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other disabilities may also receive Medicare. Medicaid was established to provide a basic level of medical care to specific categories of people who are poor, including pregnant women, children, and the aged. This entry includes a brief explanation of Medicaid and Medicare and a discussion of current legislative issues.