This commentary honors and celebrates the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, highlighting the growth, evolution, and remarkable accomplishments of two federal programs that together provide health insurance coverage to some 110 million Americans. It also recognizes President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose determination to bring these programs to life is legendary. This was prepared as part of a commemoration sponsored by the Health, Medicine and Society Program of the Aspen Institute, the LBJ Presidential Library, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Karyn Feiden researched and wrote the commentary, on behalf of the Aspen Institute. Special thanks to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation whose source material is extensively cited here.