Role Of Public Health In The 19th Century

1144 Words 5 Pages
The beginning of the 18th century saw incremental strives towards a reformed public health sector. Although the Board of Health was instituted in 1799, they still focused chiefly on sanitation measures, discounting the need for disease regulation. Despite rampant economic expansion throughout the United States from 1800–1850, public health knowledge was still crippled, representing a severe hindrance in economic growth, as widespread disease remained untreated. Peculiarly, medical practitioners were present throughout large municipalities; however, they were not recognized as possessing medical authority, and therefore, did not have significant influence in promoting disease prevention (Abel, 2010). In an attempt to radically reform public …show more content…
As previously discussed, access to public health care in the late 18th century and through the 19th century focused primarily on the development of formal organizations and political power as a means of promoting long-run growth. Indeed, such efforts were continuously pursued through the former half of the century, particularly with the invasive and often fatal nature of the Spanish flu (Mullan, 1989). However, with rapid advancements in health-related technologies, public health became an institution intended for the benefits of all socio-economic sectors. As such, the public health paradigm expanded its scope to be equally concerned with the distribution of health care as it was with the applied development of health knowledge. Driven by the necessity to provide lower-wage workers with access to formal health care, the American Association of Labor Legislation (AALL) pushed for regulation reforms that eased the economic burden of health maintenance on lower income citizens (Abel, 2010). Specifically, the AALL proposed a model bill, primarily to would subsidize health care of low-wage workers, as well as provide sick leave benefits for a prescribed period of time (Oberlander, 2015). It may be beneficial to approach the effects of such a bill through a “hierarchy of preferences,” in which consumers place preferences of certain goods according to the latter’s …show more content…
Initially, public health as an institution served the purpose of basic infrastructure maintenance, reflected in the lack of knowledge of medical practices and understandings of disease control. As the institution advanced in intent and capacity, it gained momentum in both de facto and de jure political powers, establishing a concrete means of formal institutional power. Finally, development crossed into concerns over socio-economic accessibility, prompting the establishments of health care subsidizations for lower-income citizens. Although not entirely successful, the challenges of enacting legislature that promotes the even distribution of health care may act as a commentary on contemporary health care issues; reflecting the unavoidable reality of institutions, in that they are slow to change and have significant economic and political implications. Overall, however, the development of access to public health, coupled with consistent trends of improved knowledge of medical practices, is a clear example of an institution that sets the United Sates apart as a nation founded largely upon successful institutions, and principally a promoter of long-run

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