Labor Celebrates 50 Years of Medicare (VIDEO)

Alliance for Retired Americans activist Max Fine was a member of the White House Task Force on Medicare 50 years ago.

Labor leaders, pro-middle class activists and legislators gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to celebrate Medicare’s 50th birthday.

WATCH: Unions Celebrate 50 Years of Medicare

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation in 1965, initially over 19 million Americans enrolled. Since then the number of those covered has grown to over 53 million.

Max Fine, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans, told the crowd what it was like being a member of the White House Task Force on creating Medicare and working with presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

“There would be no Medicare without the labor movement.” said Fine.

Despite its success, Medicare still has legislative hurdles ahead. Republicans in both houses of Congress have targeted Medicare for funding cuts and privatization. Legislators who support the Machinists and working people are ready to take on the right-wing attacks.

“We need a House and a Senate that understand,” said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD). “We will march in lock step, foot by foot, arm in arm.”