Flashback Friday: 50 Years of Medicare …Florida’s delegation vote

Reagan-LPcoverThis week the nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Medicare.  Florida has benefited in particular from the program through the years but not everyone in our Congressional delegation embraced the program in 1965. That was even though we had only two Republicans elected from Florida at the time (and both representing large senior populations voted YEA). But as was the case with Social Security, Conservative Republicans from the Midwest and Conservative Democrats from the South opposed the program in mass. 46 of the 48 “NAY” votes among Democrats in the House came from the South. In the Senate all six Democratic “NAY” votes came from the South including Florida’s Spessard Holland. Republicans in both chambers were split basically down the middle on passage but a disproportionate number of GOP “NAY” votes came from outside the Northeast particularly from the Midwest.

Here is the vote below of the Florida Senators and Reps.

Nay D Holland, Spessard FL
Yea D Smathers, George FL

Yea D Sikes, Robert FL 1st
Nay D Bennett, Charles FL 2nd
Yea D Pepper, Claude FL 3rd
Yea D Fascell, Dante FL 4th
Yea D Herlong, Albert FL 5th
Yea D Rogers, Paul FL 6th
Nay D Haley, James FL 7th
Yea D Matthews, Billy FL 8th
Nay D Fuqua, Don FL 9th
Yea D Gibbons, Sam FL 10th
Yea R Gurney, Edward FL 11th
Yea R Cramer, William FL 12th


  1. salsagator · ·

    It’s too bad Mr. Bennett didn’t vote for Medicare. He didn’t vote for the Civil Rights act of 1964 either. Nonetheless, this war hero was called a socialist and a communist in his campaign of 1964. He did vote for the Voting Rights Act in 1965. I wonder if he thought this vote precluded him from voting for Medicare in the same year.


    1. For Mr. Bennett I think one career threatening vote during the summer of 65′ was probably enough. He voted for the VRA as you mention which was an incredibly courageous vote in that district as you know.


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