On July 30, 1965, Medicaid was born with the passage of Title XIX of the Social Security Act but the struggle began in 1935, with President Franklin Roosevelt’s social security program. Conservative white southerners vehemently opposed this helping hand, fearing that the tax dollars provided to African/American workers would change their economic dependence and plight. This opposition ensured that the 1935 Social Security Act excluded domestic workers and agricultural laborers, the majority of whom were African-American.
In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson fought for new federal assistance including Medicaid and Medicare. While the president faced significant conservative Congressional opposition, the recent Democratic electoral victories gave public health advocates an opportunity to establish a federal health care program.
Forty-six years later, President Barack Obama sought to fix this unequal, unjust system and signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For the first time, low-income American adults would be guaranteed access to health care coverage under the law no matter where they lived in America. Once again, however, conservative Southern states fought back, challenged the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in court — and won. The conservative Supreme Court upheld Medicaid expansion in 2012 but made it voluntary by state, […]
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