I glance at the hills as we speed by, five more minutes and we’ll finally be in Independence Missouri. The trip was long and many hours were wasted goofing with my crew or sleeping. Needless to say it was an interesting journey. We all felt the train slow down and excited grins lit up our faces like a kid at a candy store. As we gathered our equipment and took the last step off the train, we could feel the history of this great town sinking down into our bones. I took a big deep breath and let the clean air wash over my lungs, tired of being in a cooped up train I immediately tugged on my members arms and we went on our way.
We checked into the hotel we were staying at for the time being, after getting everything settled in we headed to the truman library, ready to divulge into our nerdy needs. The reason for us visiting such a historic place is because July 30th 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Medicare, which provides low-cost hospitalization and medical insurance for the nation's elderly. The legislation remains an important legacy of LBJ’s “Great Society” society initiative. Thirty years before, Congress had placed the first government-mandated health insurance proposal, put forward as a companion to their new Social Security program. Ten years after that, (as World War II ended) President Harry Truman asked the lawmakers to create a national health insurance plan. By the time in early 1953, Truman had backed off from his original plan of universal coverage. The focus then turned it’s head toward insuring Social Security beneficiaries. Shortly after Johnson took office, a breakthrough occurred when House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Wilbur Mills who had previously blocked Medicare proposals, finally agreed, giving the public a big relief. At the White House bill-signing ceremony, Johnson enrolled Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the nation’s first Medicare card.