Demand for Private and State-Provided Health Insurance in the 1910s: Evidence from California

Chapter
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 35)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the demand for both private and state-provided health insurance in a historical context. In the case of private health insurance, I show that both health insurance and medical care were of limited use and that the relationship between income and health insurance and income and medical care was relatively weak, suggesting that money could buy little in the way of improvements in medical care. These results implied that there should be very little demand for state-provided health insurance and indeed there was not. Although the persuasiveness of interest groups such as doctors and to a lesser extend trade unions did contribute to the defeat of state-provided health insurance matter, none of the variables could explain such a resounding defeat. Evidence from newspaper editorials, advertisements, and articles suggested that the absence of consumer demand for health insurance together with concerns over the cost of state-provided health insurance defeated the measure. My findings are in contrast to those of other researchers who have emphasized the role of a politically powerful medical profession and of World War I.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I have benefited from the comments of Herbert Emery, Claudia Goldin, Matthew Kahn, Robert Margo, Peter Temin, and participants at the 1995 Cliometrics Conference and the 1995 NBER Health Care Summer Institute. I gratefully acknowledge the support of a NIA Aging Fellowship at the National Bureau of Economic Research in the 1995–1996 academic year.

References

  1. American Medical Association (1918) American medical director, 1918. American Medical Association, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson OW (1951) Compulsory medical care insurance, 1910–1950. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 273(1):106–113Google Scholar
  3. California Bureau of Labor Statistics (1892) A survey of 3,493 wage earners in California, 1892. In: Fifth biennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of California. Historical Labor Statistics Project, Institute of Business and Economic Research, UC-Berkeley. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  4. California Bureau of Labor Statistics (1918) Eighteenth biennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of California, 1917–18. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  5. California Registrar of Voters (1918) Statement of vote. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  6. California Secretary of State (1913) California blue book or state roster, 1911. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  7. California Social Insurance Commission (1917) Report of the Social Insurance Commission of the State of California. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  8. California State Board of Equalization (1918) Report of the California State Board of Equalization for 1917–1918. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  9. California State Tax Commission (1917) Report of the State Tax Commission of the State of California. California State Printing Office, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  10. Clubb JM, Flanigan WH, Zingale NH (2006) Electoral data for counties in the United States: presidential and congressional races, 1840–1972. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  11. Deacon R, Shapiro P (1975) Private preference for collective goods revealed through voting on referenda. Am Econ Rev 65(5):943–955Google Scholar
  12. Dewhurst JF, Associates (1955) America’s needs and resources. Twentieth Century Fund, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Emery JCH (1993) The rise and fall of fraternal methods of social insurance: a case study of the independent order of oddfellows of British Columbia sickness insurance, 1874–1951. PhD thesis, University of British ColumbiaGoogle Scholar
  14. Fishback P, Kantor S (1994) Coalition formation and the adoption of workers’ compensation: the case of Missouri, 1911 to 1926. In: Goldin C, Libecap G (eds) The regulated economy. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoffman FL (1917) Facts and fallacies of compulsory health insurance. Prudential Press, NewarkGoogle Scholar
  16. Illinois Social Insurance Commission (1919) Report of the health insurance commission of the state of Illinois. Illinois State Journal Company State Printers, SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  17. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (2005) Historical, demographic, economic, and social data: the United States, 1790–1970 (ICPSR 3). Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  18. Lindert PH (1994) The rise of social spending, 1880–1930. Explor Econ Hist 31(1):1–37Google Scholar
  19. Matsusaka JG (1995) Fiscal effects of the voter initiative: evidence from the last 30 years. J Polit Econ 103(3):587–623Google Scholar
  20. Naylor D (1986) Private practice, public payment: Canadian medicine and the politics of health insurance, 1911–1966. McGill-Queen’s Press, KingstonGoogle Scholar
  21. Numbers RL (1978) Almost persuaded: American physicians and compulsory health insurance, 1912–1920. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  22. Ohio Health and Old Age Insurance Commission (1919) Health, health insurance, old age pensions. FJ Heer Printing, ColumbusGoogle Scholar
  23. Peltzman S (1984) Constituent interest and congressional voting. J Law Econ 27(1):181–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peltzman S (1992) Voters as fiscal conservatives. Q J Econ 107(2):327–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Poole KT, Rosenthal H (1993) The enduring nineteenth-century battle for economic regulation: the Interstate Commerce Act revisited. J Law Econ 36(2):837–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rogin MP, Shover JL (1970) Political change in California: critical elections and social movements, 1890–1966. Greenwood Publishing Corporation, WestportGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosen G (1977) Contract or lodge practice and its influence on medical attitudes to health insurance. Am J Public Health 67(4):374–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rubinow IM (1916) Standards of health insurance. H Holt and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Shonick W (1995) Government and health services: government’s role in the development of US health services, 1930–1980. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  30. Skocpol T (1992) Protecting soldiers and mothers. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Starr P (1982) The social transformation of American medicine: the rise of a sovereign profession and the making of a vast industry. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. United States Bureau of the Census (1906) Census of religious bodies. Government Printing Office, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  33. United States Bureau of the Census (1926) Census of religious bodies. Government Printing Office, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  34. United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (1985) Cost of living in the United States, 1917–1918 (ICPSR 8399). Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  35. Viseltear AJ (1969) Compulsory health insurance in California, 1915–1918. J Hist Med Allied Sci 24(2):151–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Warren BS, Sydenstricker E (1916) Health insurance: its relation to public health. United States Public Health Service, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  37. Whaples R, Buffum D (1991) Fraternalism, paternalism, the family, and the market: insurance a century ago. Soc Sci Hist 15(1):97–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations