* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

King-Anderson Act


The King-Anderson Act, also known as the Medicare Act, was legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1960 by Senators Cecil R. King and Clinton P. Anderson. This bill aimed to provide health insurance coverage for American citizens aged 65 and older, regardless of their income or medical history. The act ultimately laid the foundation for the establishment of the Medicare program in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Key Takeaways

  1. The King-Anderson Act, also known as the Medical Care for the Aged bill, was a failed attempt at establishing national health insurance for elderly Americans, laying the groundwork for the eventual creation of Medicare.
  2. Proposed in 1960 by Democratic congressmen Cecil R. King and Clint Anderson, the act aimed to offer federal financial assistance and provide medical coverage for Americans aged 65 and older.
  3. Though the act was not passed due to opposition and filibustering by Republicans and the American Medical Association, it paved the way for the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965, which ultimately established the Medicare and Medicaid programs.


The King-Anderson Act, also known as Medicare, is a significant piece of legislation because it marked a major milestone in providing comprehensive healthcare coverage for elderly and disabled citizens in the United States.

Established in 1965, this federal health insurance program was a crucial step in ensuring adequate medical care and financial protection for millions who could not afford or access insurance on their own.

As part of the broader VA benefits system, the King-Anderson Act serves as a critical component for maintaining the health and well-being of military veterans and their families.

Hence, it stands as an important historical development in protecting and supporting the lives of America’s elderly, disabled, and veteran populations.


The King-Anderson Act, introduced in 1962, was a significant milestone in the history of healthcare reforms in the United States, as it aimed to provide comprehensive health insurance coverage for elderly citizens aged 65 and above. Conceived by senators Cecil R. King and Clinton P.

Anderson, this legislation was designed to address the financial hardship faced by older Americans who often found themselves unable to afford or even access proper medical care. The primary purpose of this act was to alleviate the burden of medical expenses and improve the overall quality of life for senior citizens, thus promoting their well-being, dignity, and independence. Through the King-Anderson Act, the government sought to create a social insurance system that would cover the cost of hospital care, nursing home services, and home health care for eligible individuals.

This early framework eventually laid the foundation for the establishment of Medicare, which was enacted in 1965 under the Social Security Act. Despite initial pushbacks and opposition, the King-Anderson Act was considered the starting point for meaningful dialogue about ensuring healthcare access for elderly Americans. Today, the legacy of this legislation lives on through Medicare, as millions of seniors rely on it to assist them in obtaining critical medical care and services.

Examples of King-Anderson Act

The King-Anderson Act, also known as the “Medicare Bill,” was proposed legislation in the early 1960s that aimed to help elderly citizens in the United States pay for their medical expenses. While the King-Anderson Act itself did not pass, it laid the groundwork for the eventual creation of Medicare and Medicaid under the Social Security Act of

Here are three real-world examples related to the concept behind the King-Anderson Act:

Medicare Program: Born out of efforts like the King-Anderson Act, Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage to millions of elderly Americans (65 years and older) as well as some younger people with disabilities. Medicare helps cover various medical expenses, including hospitalizations, outpatient medical care, and prescription drugs.

Medicaid Program: Similarly, Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program that provides coverage to low-income Americans, including families, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. It was also established in 1965, some years after the King-Anderson Act was proposed, and it shares the goal of helping those who otherwise could not afford healthcare services.

Community Health Centers: While not directly linked to the King-Anderson Act, community health centers across the United States have become crucial in providing medical care services to underserved communities, particularly for those without health insurance or access to other forms of healthcare. Community health centers complement the goals of providing affordable healthcare services to those who may have not been able to access them, an aim similar to the one behind the King-Anderson Act.

FAQ for the King-Anderson Act

1. What is the King-Anderson Act?

The King-Anderson Act was a bill proposed in the United States Congress in 1965 to create a national health insurance program for elderly Americans. Although it was not initially passed, its ideas eventually led to the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid.

2. Who were the key figures behind the King-Anderson Act?

The King-Anderson Act was named after its key sponsors, Rep. Cecil R. King of California and Sen. Clinton P. Anderson of New Mexico. Both were Democrats who strongly advocated for a better healthcare system for the elderly in the United States.

3. What was the purpose of the King-Anderson Act?

The main goal of the King-Anderson Act was to provide a national health insurance program for elderly Americans, specifically those aged 65 and older. This program aimed to alleviate the financial burden of healthcare for older individuals, many of whom struggled to afford care due to limited income and increasing medical costs.

4. Why was the King-Anderson Act not passed?

The King-Anderson Act faced significant opposition from conservative politicians and groups like the American Medical Association, who were concerned about the potential for government interference in healthcare. This resistance ultimately prevented the act from gaining enough support to pass through Congress.

5. How did the King-Anderson Act lead to the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid?

Although the King-Anderson Act itself was not passed, the ideas and principles behind it continued to gain traction. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act Amendments into law, which created both Medicare and Medicaid. These programs were heavily influenced by the King-Anderson Act and similarly aimed to provide healthcare coverage to elderly and low-income individuals.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Medicare
  • Healthcare Coverage
  • Older Americans Act
  • Social Security Act Amendments
  • Healthcare Legislation

Sources for More Information