Health Care 1875-1900 the History Term Paper

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The American Public Health Association (APHA) is founded. This organization is concerned with the social and economic aspects of health problems.

The National Quarantine Act is signed into law. This legislation is designed to prevent entry into the country of persons with communicable diseases.

1899 the National Hospital Superintendent's Association is created. It later becomes the American Hospital Association.

Patel & Rushefsky, 1995, p. xvii)

The seeds of health care legislation and centralization began before 1875 but began to take hold as the most accepted manner in which to ensure safe and scientifically founded health care for many and to begin to ensure that diseases that commonly plagued a newly urbanized and highly stressful environment of mass immigration could be dealt with, in a more centralized and practical manner. Founded earlier in 1847, the American Medical Association began to have a concrete and centralized role in the health care decisions of the nation. Without such intervention by this group the foundations of modern health care may have been stunted by the continued emphasis on profit driven false hope.

Another beginning during the short period was the establishment of insurance consortiums as a source for centralized health care reform and management. These organizations began to offer people assurance that if their needs for health care outweighed their ability to pay for it out of pocket they would care for them and their families One of the first such companies was the Prudential Insurance Company of America, whose roots are detailed in a wonderful work that encompasses it history during the very years here in question. (Morone & Belkin, 1994, p. 55)

The Progressives who came to see conservation as a unified scientific management of the national wealth also began to look upon health as a resource and a part of the general welfare. In which scientific research could produce dramatic results. A foundation of basic data had been building up since 1880, when John Shaw Billings, an Army surgeon and head of the Army medical library, organized a vital statistics program in cooperation with the Tenth Census. The germ theory of disease, becoming established and taking on something of the nature of a fad in the two decades after 1880, lent new credence to the notion that scientific research could solve the age-old problem of sickness and premature death. Consequently, some of the social legislationof the Progressive Era that produced the bitterest controversy and the most far-reaching court decisions was enacted in the interest of health. (Daniels, 1971, p. 302-303)

The challenges to the legal system and the culture are strongly built on the backs of medical care legislation as many issues once regarded as regional or even personal, that had become foundational problems all over the country began to be answered by the progressive ideas of social welfare and public safety, often culminating in legal battles for legitimizing medical care.


Callahan, D. (1999, July 16). WHAT'S NATURAL?: It's Hard to Say. Commonweal, 126, 7. Retrieved February 18, 2005, from Questia database,

Daniels, G.H. (1971). Science in American Society: A Social History (1st ed.). New York: Knopf.

Haller, J.S. (1994). Medical Protestants: The Eclectics in American Medicine, 1825-1939. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Morone, J.A. & Belkin, G.S. (Eds.). (1994). The Politics of Health Care Reform: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Patel, K., & Rushefsky, M.E. (1995). Health Care Politics and Policy in America. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

Starr, P. (1982). The Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York: Basic Books.

Stock-Morton, P. (1996). Control and Limitation of Midwives in Modern France: the Example of Marseille. Journal of Women's History, 8(1), 60-94.

Wegener, F. (1997). A Line of Her Own: Henry James's "Sturdy Little Doctress" and the Medical Woman as Literary Type in Gilded-Age America. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 39(2), 139-180.[continue]

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