Max W. Fine died on April 19. He was 92.
His life’s work was to bring universal medical care to all Americans and was the last survivor of President John F. Kennedy’s Medicare Task Force.
He was born on June 1, 1926, in Nashville, Tenn. Fine began his career as a journalist at the United Nations, rising to press secretary for Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. He answered Kennedy’s call to join his administration at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
There, a Medicare Task Force was formed and charged with drafting and implementing a new law to provide healthcare to seniors. It was the Medicare Act and became law on July 30, 1965. Within a short time, it proved to be an extraordinary success. While at HEW, Fine was also tasked with desegregating hospitals across the South.
In 1968, he was appointed executive director of the newly formed Committee for National Health Insurance, also known as the “Committee of 100,” a diverse group of unions, public health advocates, religious organizations and concerned Americans committed to extending Medicare to Americans of all ages. Fine continued to speak out for universal coverage, appearing at rallies and conferences until just months before his death.
His spouse, Naomi, died in 2014. He is survived by a daughter, Jodie Sue Fine, and a son, Robert, both of Bethesda; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Donations can be made to Chesapeake Bay Trust (cbtrust.org). Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.