For the past five decades, Medicare and Medicaid, along with Social Security, have constituted the most important foundations of the American safety net. They are also responsible for a large and growing proportion of federal spending. And given the seemingly relentless rise of health-care costs and the growing number of Americans who reach the age of 65 every year (and thus qualify for Medicare), the ability of the federal government to maintain defense and discretionary spending and the overall strength of the U.S. economy increasingly depend on the effective management of these programs. The editors of this outstanding collection have brought together many of the country’s most knowledgeable and influential experts on health care to reflect on where Medicare and Medicaid stand at their half-century mark. Health-care policy is as difficult to master as it is vital to the country’s future; there is no better place for politicians and students to begin their education on the subject than this judiciously assembled, thoughtfully edited, and lucidly written collection.