First universal health care system spurred by need for military readiness

The commentary by three flag officers regarding the poor military readiness of Virginia’s youth due to nutritional deficiencies [“Poor nutrition threatens military readiness,” Nov. 26] reminded me of the impetus for the first universal health care system.

Baron Otto von Bismarck, the Blood and Iron chancellor, instituted the Sickness Insurance Law of 1883 because he wanted the Prussian army to be the strongest land force in Europe.

He was shrewd enough to realize that without healthy German youth to conscript, he was unlikely to achieve his military goals.

He correctly perceived that a healthier state was a stronger state.

Donald Bley


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