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June 23, 1923

Public Relief of Sickness.

JAMA. 1923;80(25):1869. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640520051036

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The author discusses, first, the problem of sickness and poverty. Much of the information bearing on this phase of the subject is taken from the report of the health insurance commission created by the state of Illinois in 1917. That sickness is a very important factor in the causation of poverty is certain, but it is by no means the only factor, and its influence in this direction is often overestimated by enthusiastic supporters of some form of compulsory health insurance, just as overzealous prohibition advocates frequently overestimate the influence of drink in the production of poverty. The health insurance acts of Denmark, Germany and England are then briefly discussed, and their shortcomings pointed out. He then takes up two methods of legislation proposed in New York State for the public relief of sickness—the so-called "health center" and the "compulsory health insurance" bills. He believes that cash benefits and medical

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