Written by Michael Tennant
It all started modestly enough. Hoping to stem the rising tide of socialism in the late 19th century, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck decided to institute a welfare state, the theory being that finding a middle ground between laissez-faire capitalism and full-blown socialism would blunt the popularity of the latter without unduly interfering with the former. Bismarck convinced the Reichstag to create four programs: accident insurance, old-age pensions, disability insurance, and compulsory health insurance.
The health insurance bill, passed in 1883, provided for cash payments to those temporarily unable to work because of illness and in-kind benefits for their medical treatment. Employers paid one-third of the cost of the program; employees paid the rest. According to Wikipedia, “The program was considered the least important [of the four] from Bismarck’s point of view.” But as we shall see, it had perhaps the most pernicious effects of all.
Darwinism in Theory and Practice