Hoffman examines each of the major combatants in the battle over compulsory health insurance. While physicians, employers, the insurance industry, and conservative politicians forged a uniquely powerful coalition in opposition to health insurance proposals, she shows, reformers' potential allies within women's organizations and the labor movement were bitterly divided. Against the backdrop of World War I and the Red Scare, opponents of reform denounced government-sponsored health insurance as "un-American" and, in the process, helped fashion a political culture that resists proposals for universal health care and a comprehensive welfare state even today.
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A timely, well-written, and amply researched new look at the most promising effort to pass a state government health insurance program . . . . Hoffman's most significant contribution is to bring women into the struggle for health care reform as active and critical participants . . . . Hoffman's admirable accomplishment has been to recover an important and early part of the century of struggle for compulsory health insurance: the work of women activists and analysts.American Historical Review
Tightly argued and well crafted. . . . This is an excellent book that should interest historians of public health, business, labor, women, and public policy.Journal of American History
[This] book weaves the interests of disparate influences such as employers, labor unions, medical doctors, women's groups, and politicians into a fascinating narrative. . . . The volume is both extensively documented and written in lively, readable prose. It will appeal to students of a wide range of disciplines, from history to public policy.Choice
Nicely written and deeply researched. . . . Hoffman adds much to the conventional narrative. . . . Hoffman has produced a very fine book that . . . suggests many intriguing questions.Labor History
Beatrix Hoffman has reframed the formative years of American health policy in a most innovative way. Her vivid description and compelling explanation of progressive failure should greatly interest all those concerned with health security as a historical problem or a contemporary one.Alan Derickson, Pennsylvania State University