In 1906, the American Association of Labor Legislation (AALL) finally led the campaign for health insurance.They were a typical progressive group whose mandate was not to abolish capitalism but rather to reform it.Other developed countries have had some form of social insurance (that later evolved into national insurance) for nearly as long as the has been trying to get it.Some European countries started with compulsory sickness insurance, one of the first systems, for workers beginning in Germany in 1883; other countries including Austria, Hungary, Norway, Britain, Russia, and the Netherlands followed all the way through 1912.New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois also had some efforts aimed at health insurance.But in the Red Scare, immediately after the war, when the government attempted to root out the last vestiges of radicalism, opponents of compulsory health insurance associated it with Bolshevism and buried it in an avalanche of anti-Communist rhetoric.What was the doing during this period of the late 1800’s to 1912?The government took no actions to subsidize voluntary funds or make sick insurance compulsory; essentially the federal government left matters to the states and states left them to private and voluntary programs.
Other efforts during this time in California, namely the California Social Insurance Commission, recommended health insurance, proposed enabling legislation in 1917, and then held a referendum.
In a nutshell, the bill limited coverage to the working class and all others that earned less than 00 a year, including dependents.
The services of physicians, nurses, and hospitals were included, as was sick pay, maternity benefits, and a death benefit of fifty dollars to pay for funeral expenses. Costs were to be shared between workers, employers, and the state.
The primary reason for the emergence of these programs in Europe was income stabilization and protection against the wage loss of sickness rather than payment for medical expenses, which came later.
Programs were not universal to start with and were originally conceived as a means of maintaining incomes and buying political allegiance of the workers.