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But since this would have pulled the rug out from under the multi-million dollar commercial life insurance industry, they opposed the national health insurance proposal. The government-commissioned articles denouncing “German socialist insurance” and opponents of health insurance assailed it as a “Prussian menace” inconsistent with American values.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.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.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.

Roosevelt’s successors were mostly conservative leaders, who postponed for about twenty years the kind of presidential leadership that might have involved the national government more extensively in the management of social welfare.In 1914, reformers sought to involve physicians in formulating this bill and the American Medical Association (AMA) actually supported the leadership denied it had ever favored the measure.Meanwhile the president of the American Federation of Labor repeatedly denounced compulsory health insurance as an unnecessary paternalistic reform that would create a system of state supervision over people’s health.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.On several occasions, advocates believed they were on the verge of success; yet each time they faced defeat.

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