[In the 1950’s] the federal safety net designed for a time when unemployment was 20 percent and stockbrokers were jumping out of windows was still there. Not yet unmanageable, still a small fraction of the federal budget, still considered a lifeline for the desperate and a retirement income supplement for the rest.
Then along came the tumultuous, iconoclastic, game-changing 1960s….
In 1965, Medicare and Medicaid began paying medical expenses of the retired and those who could demonstrate “need.” Human nature being what it is, two things happened. First, those who could demonstrate “need” availed themselves of free medical care far beyond any level they would have used had they been required to pay for it. Second, given virtual carte blanche by the government, hospitals and other medical providers jacked up their prices in breathtaking fashion….
And voilÃ¡, our citizenry became entitled to medical care and a retirement income no matter what the cost. The more they got, the more they wanted…Now their time is up.