The following is a timeline which summarizes the genesis and evolution of government provided health insurance in the United States.
Major Foreign Events:
- 1883: Otto von Bismark, then Chancellor of Germany passes a compulsory health insurance bill for factory and mine workers
- 1911: Germany extends compulsory insurance coverage to almost all employees
- 1911: David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Great Britain convinces Parliament to pass the National Health Insurance Act which provides: 1) a cash payment in the event of maternity or disability, 2) medical services if a workers should fall ill. The London correspondent for JAMA reports that British physicians incomes rose between 20-50% in prosperous areas and doubled in poor areas after the Nat’l Health Act.
- 1906: John Commons, an economist at the U. of Wisconsin founds the American Association for Labor Legislation (AALL) to lobby for health care reform
- 1917: War Risk Insurance Act – extends medical and hospital care to veterans
- 1934: FDR creates Committee on Economic Security which advises the passage of government administered health insurance.
- 1935: Under FDR, Social Security Act passes.
- 1938: At the National Health Conference, FDR makes “the first definite affirmation by an American chief executive of the ultimate responsibility of the government for the health of its citizens”.
- 1943: Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill proposed (not passed) which aims for compulsory national health insurance
- 1946: Hill-Burton Hospital Survey and Construction Act
- 1957: Forand Bill aiming for medicare bill introduced
- 1960: Kerr-Mills bill passed, provides medical care for medically indigent
- 1961: King-Anderson bill proposed (would have covered 14m recipients of social security over 65, predecessor to Medicare);
- 1961: National Council of Senior Citizens – lobbying group for nationalized health insurance, AFL-CIO helps found
- 1965: “MEDICARE” put into law, Mills bill passes, “Three layer cake”
- Title XVIII, Part A – Hospital Insurance: Provided all persons over 65 eligilbe for limited stay at hospital, based on King-Anderson
- Title XVIII, Part B – Supplementary Medical Insurance: Voluntary, for physicians’ and home health services,
- Title XIX, Medicaid – gives states options of how to care for medically needy, expansion of Kerr-Mills bill
From “The Genesis and Development of Medicare” chapter by Ronald Hamowy in American Health Care: Government, Market Processes and the Public Interest, edited by Roger D. Feldman