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Chapter 23. Social Security and Medicare > Will the Promise Be Broken? - Pg. 236

Social Security and Medicare 236 Medicare is a recent phenomenon, created in 1965. This health insurance program covers retired persons over the age of 65, people of any age with permanent kidney failure, and people with certain disabilities. This program is now administrated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Applications for Medicare and general information about Medicare can be found at your Social Security Administration offices around the country. Don't you feel like you just sat through a U.S. history class? There will be a quiz at the end of the chapter, and you'll need to have read the whole chapter for tomorrow's class. Just kidding! Will the Promise Be Broken? The government takes a little money (well, for most of us, it's actually more than a little) out of each paycheck, with the promise to help you financially when you retire. Will that promise be broken? We don't think so. Social Security will be there in the future, whenever you need it, tomorrow or years from now. It may look different in the future, but it has evolved over the years and will continue to evolve, as it must. You may have to contribute more, and you may be taxed on your benefits, but you will receive a benefit. Currently almost 46 million people are collecting Social Security benefits. There was $407.6 billion paid to Social Security recipients in 2000. An estimated 154 million people worked in jobs covered by Social Security in the year 2000. Social Security and Medicare are indeed the largest part of our national budget, accounting for 34 percent. (That's even more than we pay for our national defense.) But somewhere along the line, we as a nation made a decision, a promise that we would not allow our neediest citizens or their children to slip through the cracks. We would provide a supplemental income program. Now that's all the promise ever was. It was never meant to be the sole source of retirement income for retirees. It's there for you to build on and supplement. It's just a safety net, as Roosevelt intended it to be.