Living Conditions In The 1930s Essay

1286 Words 6 Pages
Living conditions during the 1930s were some of the most difficult in US history, and the health of the nation was a major concern. With food and money both being scarce, hard choices would have to be made with some regularity. Staying healthy to support others in your care would be a necessity, along with assuring the rest of your family remained healthy to avoid additional hardships. During this time, the available options for healthcare and medical services weren’t immediately evident. With unemployment on the rise and poverty increasing, being able to pay for medical visits when a doctor was required would be increasingly difficult. It would not unreasonable to propose that a visit to the doctor might be treated as a luxury and utilized …show more content…
Edgar Sydenstricker, Director of research of the Milbank Memorial Fund and chief statistician of the United States Public Health Service at the time, wrote that the overall health of the nation was actually showing improvement on many levels. His research indicated that, despite the difficult economic times, the overall life expectancy had actually improved and mortality rates associated with the youngest children and tuberculosis patients had begun to decline. José A. Tapia Granados and Ana V. Diez Roux of the University of Michigan noted similar findings in their research. They state, “Population health did not decline and indeed generally improved during the 4 years of the Great Depression, 1930–1933, with mortality decreasing for almost all ages, and life expectancy increasing by several years in males, females, whites, and nonwhites.” Sydenstricker advised that the lower mortality statistics were useful as a measurement of good health, but would not provide insight into the larger picture unless disease or other elements were in evidence. In his article “Health and the New Deal”, he covers many of the health challenges still being faced, especially in families of lower economic standing. He was deeply concerned about the malnutrition being experienced and felt health programs should be extended to address the issue. He also promotes the expansion of what …show more content…
Washington would be the primary source of security for those less fortunate. In 1933, one of the New Deal agencies, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, began applying some of their funding for services ranging from general healthcare, to emergency dental and nursing. A program was created through the Farm Security Administration that offered medical prepayment plans for the lower income farmers needing assistance. Federal funds were allocated through titles V and VI of the Social Security Act which would provide maternal and child care, support for crippled children and even offered some support to state public health programs. This period of time also saw an increased interest for creating and implementing national health insurance. National health insurance was considered by Congress, but no action was taken. With the advancement of the social and economic programs of the New Deal, there was considerable concern that in creating national health insurance, the government would start to control the American medical profession. As a result, most doctors were resistant to any program that might result in public health officials intruding on the offices of private practice. In the more rural areas of the country, there was also a fear that the government would not be able to accommodate the changing needs of the

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