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March 31, 1917

Compulsory Health Insurance

JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(13):994. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270030326025

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To the Editor:  -The numerous letters on health insurance contained in The Journal, March 10, 1917, prompt me to remind your readers of one or two facts which have been overlooked by your correspondents.It is suggested by Dr. Albert Bowen of Rochester, N. Y., that the remedy for inadequate wages, insufficient to meet the expenses of illness, is higher wages. To this we should all subscribe. However, those of us who face the practical questions realize, just as the Massachusetts Commission on Social Insurance has pointed out, that there is no immediate prospect of a sufficient increase in wages to enable the American wage earner to bear the full cost of sickness. Even if a rise of wages should occur, the incidence of sickness is so uncertain that it is essentially an insurable proposition. For example, the Social Insurance Commission in California found that from a group of 600

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