The New Deal placed security at the center of American political and economic life by establishing an explicit partnership between the state, economy, and citizens. In America, unlike anywhere else in the world, most people depend overwhelmingly on private health insurance and employee benefits. The astounding rise of this phenomenon from before World War II, however, has been largely overlooked. In this powerful history of the American reliance on employment-based benefits, Jennifer Klein examines the interwoven politics of social provision and labor relations from the 1910s to the 1960s. Through a narrative that connects the commercial life insurance industry, the politics of Social Security, organized labor's quest for economic security, and the evolution of modern health insurance, she shows how the firm-centered welfare system emerged. Moreover, the imperatives of industrial relations, Klein argues, shaped public and private social security.
Looking closely at unions and communities, Klein uncovers the wide range of alternative, community-based health plans that had begun to germinate in the 1930s and 1940s but that eventually succumbed to commercial health insurance and pensions. She also illuminates the contests to define "security"--job security, health security, and old age security--following World War II.
For All These Rights traces the fate of the New Deal emphasis on social entitlement as the private sector competed with and emulated Roosevelt's Social Security program. Through the story of struggles over health security and old age security, social rights and the welfare state, it traces the fate of New Deal liberalism--as a set of ideas about the state, security, and labor rights--in the 1950s, the 1960s, and beyond.
"[T]his book provides a fresh and compelling interpretation of some of the critical junctures in the development of old-age pensions and health insurance. This carefully argued and documented book is also invaluable for anyone wrestling with the question of 'what next?' for social security and health-care reform in the United States."--Marie Gottschalk, International Review of Social History
"What makes this splendid book so enlightening is Klein's ability to see multiple actors in motion and to grasp how several complex dynamics intersected in the crucial years between 1920 and 1950. Policy makers, political actors, union leaders, rank-and-file workers, associations, employers, insurers: all played a key role in the path--determining decisions taken in these crucial years. Klein handles all of these actors with a sure hand. . . . By brilliantly illuminating the historical roots of today's growing crisis, she makes an enormous contribution."--Joseph A. McCartin, American Historical Review
"[Klein] pull[s] no punches. By bringing political economy back in, [she] offer[s] the most complex and satisfying explanation to date of America's exceptional trajectory toward the public-private welfare state. . . . [This book] will have a lasting impact on the way policy scholars see the public-private welfare state."--Beatrix Hoffman, Journal of Policy History
"For scholars of the welfare state, this book provides a fresh and compelling interpretation of some of the critical junctures in the development of old-age pensions and health insurance. This carefully argued and documented book is also invaluable for anyone wrestling with the question of 'what next' for social security and health-care reform in the United States."--Marie Gottschalk, International Review of Social History
Table of Contents:
List of Abbreviations xiii
Chapter 1: Mass Marketing Private Insurance: The Origins of a Private Employee Benefits System, 1910-1933 16
Chapter 2: Industrial Pensions: Efficiency and Security 53
Chapter 3: The New Deal Struggle: Insurers, Employers, and the Politics of Social Security, 1933-1940 78
Chapter 4: Organizing for Health Security: Community, Labor, and New Deal Visions for Health Care and Health Policy, 1930s-1940s 116
Chapter 5: Economic Security on the Home Front: Health Insurance and Pensions during World War II 162
Chapter 6: Managing Security: The Triumph of Group Insurance and the State’s Legitimation of the Public-Private Welfare State,
Chapter 7: Epilogue: The Limits of Private Security, 1960s-1990s 258