NCPA May 21, 2024

JohnsonToday in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announces the Great Society, an umbrella initiative that led to several key programs that we still benefit from today—an echo of Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, which created the long-term infrastructure for the social good that has structural economic and governmental implications. As we head into an election season, the most prominent outcome that should be noted was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting racial discrimination at the polls. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. Among the Great Society’s programs attached to other pieces of legislation: Head Start preschool education for underprivileged children, the establishment of community health centers to expand access, and amendments to Social Security that increased benefits, expanded coverage, and addressed living standards in cities and rural communities. Notably, Medicare and Medicaid were born with the Social Security Act of 1965, two programs later administered by CMS after 1977. Pictured: Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act in August 1965, accompanied by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sixth from right, and Rosa Parks (second from right). Image: public domain.