NAELA Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

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Elder and Special Needs Law Attorneys Provide Guidance on Public Benefits Programs

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NAELA member attorneys celebrate these programs and the tremendous benefits they provide to our clients.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965. For 50 years, these two programs have allowed the elderly and families with low incomes to receive basic health coverage, nursing home and personal care services, and hospital and medical care without the financial burden. Learn more about the history of Medicaid in “Medicaid at 50 – Medicaid for Long-Term Services and Supports: In the Beginning,” by NAELA board member and Fellow Morris Klein, CELA, CAP (April/May/June 2015 issue of NAELA News).

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) member attorneys celebrate these programs and the tremendous benefits they provide to our clients. We offer guidance to the elderly, people with special needs, and their families to help them navigate these programs and receive the services they deserve,” said NAELA President Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., CAP.

These programs have contributed substantially to the well-being of seniors and persons with disabilities, however, more work still needs to be done. NAELA advocates to improve these programs by:

  • Expanding care in the community. Medicaid, the primary provider of long-term services and supports, guarantees care in a nursing home, but not in the community. This means that many who want to remain at home risk being placed in an institution sooner than medically necessary.
  • Fixing the issue of placing patients under “observation” when admitted to a hospital, causing them to unknowingly lose their Medicare skilled nursing facility coverage when they seek rehabilitation therapy after discharge.
  • Ensuring those who have a serious illness can make informed decisions about their care in advance and have those choices honored.

Learn more about NAELA public policy efforts relating to Medicare and Medicaid.

To receive a free NAELA brochure: “Questions and Answers When Looking for an Elder or Special Needs Law Attorney,” contact Communications Associate Abby Matienzo by email at amatienzo(at)naela(dot)org or phone at 703-942-5711 #230.

Find an Elder and Special Needs Law attorney in your area using NAELA’s Member Directory.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit


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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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