"Un-American" or unnecessary? America's rejection of compulsory government health insurance in the Progressive Era
Between 1915 and 1920, 18 U.S. states considered the introduction of compulsory health insurance. Progressive reformers expected state health insurance to be welfare enhancing for American wage-workers since it would result in lower cost insurance and an extension of coverage to more of the population. The evidence presented in this paper indicates that the absence of broad political support for health insurance legislation in this early period reflects that compulsory insurance would not have improved on what was available and affordable through voluntary arrangements and had the potential to reduce the welfare of wage-earners.
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