Peter Yarrow, the 77 year old famous Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary has been invited to sing in Albany at the 50th anniversary celebration of the signing of the Medicare and Medicaid acts. Details are still being worked out in the hope that Yarrow will be able to join the event. This event will be held at noon on Thursday, July 30th at West Capitol Park behind the State Capitol in Albany. The event is being planned by the New York StateWide Senior Action Council, the Capital District chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans and the single payer Medicare for All coalition. Other events celebrating the anniversary are being planned in New York City, Poughkeepsie and other locations. The New York State Nurses Association is planning an event at the Hudson River Walkway near Poughkeepsie on Sunday, August 2nd.
This summer will mark a number of anniversaries of great social importance. The Older Americans Act was also signed 50 years ago in July by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Social Security celebrates its 80th anniversary on August 14, the date it was signed by President Roosevelt. The Americans with Disabilities Act marks 25 years since its passage and signing into law by President George HW Bush.
It is hard to imagine what life would be like for older and disabled persons without these programs. Quite clearly, most individuals would not have saved the money on their own that went into required payroll deductions for Social Security and Medicare and many have to rely on Medicaid if they have to live in a nursing home. Social Security has also helped so many children who lost a parent or spouses who may not have been earning much if anything when their spouse died. The program was also expanded to cover the disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Olmstead Supreme Court decision have affirmed the importance of a right to independent living for persons with disabilities.
I just like to note that this policies and programs did not just happen but they resulted from strong advocacy for many years by social activists who sought a better life and world. That is why it so important that we maintain the social insurance character of these programs which continue to be under assault.