Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

My first book examined the twentieth-century development of France’s social programs, including health care, retirement pensions, worker’s compensation, and family welfare. As a result of years of research in France, my family and I have had considerable direct experience with French health care, from the neighborhood nurse who gives us our flu shots to the state-run well-child clinic that keeps our children...

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1 Common Ideals, Divergent Nations

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pp. 1-30

Washington, D.C. I’m attending a good-bye party for a friend who is leaving her job at a local museum. A friendly group has gathered at a fashionable northwest restaurant for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. I find myself face to face with an art historian from the National Portrait Gallery. I get the standard question, “What do you do?” I tell the interrogator that I’m writing a book on U.S...

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2 Health Insurance and the Rise of Private-Practice Medicine,1915–1930

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pp. 31-64

The First World War (1914–1918) marks the end of what historians call “the long nineteenth century.” The war brought about such rapid social, political, and economic change that the first president of the United States elected after the conflict, Warren Harding, vainly coined a new word, “normalcy” to promise Americans a return to a bygone era. As the bloody site of most of the fighting, France...

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3 Health Security, the State, and Civil Society, 1930–1940

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pp. 65-96

Among large Western democracies, France and the United States were the most active social reformers in the face of the Great Depression that began in 1929. Sheer misery motivated much of this action. Reform-minded politicians, especially President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Léon Blum, enjoyed electoral successes that would have been impossible just a few years earlier. Leaders...

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4 Challenges and Change during the Second World War, 1940–1945

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pp. 97-111

In May 1940 German forces launched their long-planned blitzkrieg against France. The French army, backed by a British expeditionary force, was quickly split in two by the fast-moving German tank divisions and aerial attacks. With supply and communications lines disrupted, the Nazi advance quickly turned into a rout. Only an unusually dense fog over the English Channel prevented the total destruction...

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5 Labor’s Quest for Health Security, 1945–1960

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pp. 112-133

Like two sides of the same coin, health care in France and the United States exhibited different images after 1945. The French side portrayed public compulsory health insurance with mutual societies and private insurers providing supplemental coverage for employers and individuals who could pay for it. The U.S. side showed the power of private voluntary insurance to afford comprehensive...

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6 The Choice of Public or Private,1950–1970

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pp. 134-156

A 1951 tour by French medical leaders of the United States provides us with a telling glimpse into the different choices that each nation made between public and private insurance. The French doctors stopped first in New York, where they met George Baehr, medical director of the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, a group practice founded by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. The plan offered...

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7 Cost Control Moves to the Fore, 1970–2000

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pp. 157-183

The late 1960s and 1970s were a time of profound social upheaval in France and the United States. The war in Vietnam waged by the United States provoked widespread protests there and in Europe, especially in France where, it should be remembered, French troops had already shed their own and Vietnamese blood before withdrawing in 1954. Although French student protesters identified...

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8 Hospitals and the Difficult Art of Health Care Reform, 1980–Present

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pp. 184-211

Hospitals underwent a substantial transformation during the twentieth century. French hospitals, in particular, had a history of religious charity care that dated back several centuries, usually under the auspices of a Catholic diocese. Successive republican governments of the nineteenth century, however, transferred hospital control to public authorities. But the state’s displacement of religious...

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9 Les Jeux Sont Faits? 2000–present

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pp. 212-222

In 1943 the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre published a play entitled Les Jeux Sont Faits (The Chips Are Down). Set in an unnamed city bringing to mind France under German occupation during the Second World War, it is a story about our inability to be free of our pasts. The main characters, Eve and Pierre, meet in the afterlife, only to discover that a terrible mistake has been made. Both have just been murdered by...

Notes

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pp. 223-246

Index

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pp. 247-254