Medicare is a major effort on the part of the United States government to provide affordable health insurance for seniors over the age of 65, as well as people with certain disabilities. While other countries have more thorough health coverage programs, funding for Medicare has always been a sensitive political issue in the U.S. Recent changes and the addition of a prescription drug plan have caused a lot of controversy. Regardless of these issues, Medicare is a vital means of paying for health care for many Americans. An estimated 42.3 million people benefited from Medicare programs in 2004 [Ref].
In this article, we'll see who is eligible for Medicare, how to get it and how it has changed. We'll also take a look at some of the controversies surrounding this program.