In honor of Medicare's 50th, I propose lowering the eligibility age to 50, thence in rapid increments of five years every single month, culminating in automatic coverage for all citizens beginning at birth. I also propose doing away with the current deductibles and co-pays in order to get the private insurance predators out of the mix entirely.
How did LBJ do it? The LBJ Presidential Library has the transcript of a White House conversation from March 1965:
Ronald Reagan, remember, shilled for the American Medical Association. Reagan must stink like a dead cat by this time, as he rolls. But here he is in his happier rigor mortis days:LBJ: When are you going to take it up?Mills: (Wilbur Mills, the powerful House Ways and Committee chairman) I’ve got to go to the Rules Committee next week.LBJ: You always get your rules pretty quickly though, don’t you?Mills: Yeah, that’s right.LBJ: . . . For God’s sake, let’s get it before Easter! . . . They make a poll every Easter. . .You know it. On what has Congress accomplished up till then. Then the rest of the year they use that record to write editorials about. So anything that we can grind through before Easter will be twice as important as after Easter.(Mills gets off the telephone line)LBJ: Now, remember this. Nine out of 10 things that I get in trouble on is because they lay around. And tell the Speaker and Wilbur [Mills] to please get a rule just the moment they can.Cohen: (Wilbur Cohen, Assistant HEW Secretary) They want to bring it up next week, Mr. President.LBJ: Yeah, but you just tell them not to let it lay around. Do that! They want to but they might not. That gets the doctors organized. Then they get the others organized. And I damn near killed my education bill, letting it lay around.Cohen: Yeah.LBJ: It stinks. It’s just like a dead cat on the door. When a committee reports it, you better either bury that cat or get it some life in it . . . [to Mills as he gets back on the line:] For God’s sakes! “Don’t let dead cats stand on your porch,” Mr. Rayburn used to say. They stunk and they stunk and they stunk. When you get one out of that committee, you call that son of a bitch up before [our opponents] can get their letters written.