Coal Miners' Health Care: The First Ten Years of the Medical Care Program of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund

Janet E. Ploss


This paper analyzes the origins and development of the m ical care program of the United Mine Workers America Welfare and Retirement Fund. This pr gram was unique In the histo of health care organ­ Ization in the United States In that Its policies and practices represented a depa ure from the dominant m e of organizing and financing health care. From 1948 to 1978 it was viewed by many as a model for a national health se ice as opposed to a national health Insurance program. The purpose of this a icle Is to analyze the origins of the Fund medical care program and the early development of Its policies. The histo of the program contains impo ant lessons concern­ Ing the politics of health care In the United States and the relationship be n who controls the provision health care se ices and the cost and the quality of those se ices. 

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