If I Were Lyndon Johnson


Introduction

Born in Stonewall, Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson or LBJ, served as President of the United States (U.S.) from 1963 to 1969. He was a member of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before being elected as Vice President in 1960. Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, he was sworn in as the 36th U.S. President.

If I were LBJ

Two of the most beneficial Social Security Amendments signed into law by LBJ were Medicare and Medicaid, which provide low-cost or free health care services to certain population groups.

  • Medicare – Federal Health Insurance program covering citizens over age 65 and those under age 65 having disabilities, end stage renal disease (ESRD), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Medicaid – State Health Insurance program covering low-income citizens.

If I were LBJ, prior to signing the Medicare Act in 1965, I would have ensured that the Act specified a cap on the money to be spent per citizen annually. If a citizen required additional funds, a detailed medical report signed by two qualified doctors should be submitted.

These clauses would have:

  • Limited abuse of Medicare.
  • Reduced Medicare fraud.
  • Saved billions of dollars in wasteful spending.

When I review the 1965 version of Medicaid, if I were Johnson, I would have inserted clauses making it mandatory that:

  • Guidelines pertaining to the eligibility standards for enrolment, services provided, rates per service, and program administration is consistent across all the states.
  • Children having fathers earning a salary below the poverty line are enrolled for Medicaid.

Reading accounts of the Vietnam War, especially Operation Rolling Thunder, the increasing protests in the U.S. and the Paris Peace talks which prolonged the duration of the war has led me to feel strongly that if I were Johnson, I would not have:

  • Utilized the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to authorize war.
  • Approved Operation Rolling Thunder which resulted in over 90,000 causalities and millions of dollars lost in physical destruction.

Conclusion

Today, Lyndon Johnson is seen as a towering American political figure, who through his Great Society campaign, his signing of the Voting Rights Act giving Blacks the right to vote, and Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination in public places, attempted to bring the citizens of the U.S. a step closer to a lifestyle where they could be assured of quality health care, good education, and a fair, equal representation in society.

 
 

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