''Sickness'', Gender and National Health Insurance in Ireland, 1922-40s
GENDER, MEDICINE AND THE STATE IN IRELAND AND THE UNITED STATES, Margaret Ó Hogartaigh and Margaret Preston, eds., Syracuse University Press, Forthcoming
26 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2007 Last revised: 13 Jan 2011
This chapter looks at the administration of the Irish national health insurance system in the years after the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. It examines, in particular, gender-related issues in the administration and reform of the national health insurance system. The implications of this assessment for broader debates about whether data on illness in national health insurance systems can be interpreted as evidence of morbidity or simply as absence from work are also considered. The paper will first outline the background of the national health insurance system in Ireland and then move on to discuss concerns which emerged, particularly in the 1930s, in relation to the perceived high claim rate of women (and, in particular, married women) under the national health insurance scheme. In addition, it looks at whether these can be explained by higher female morbidity. Finally, this chapter will discuss the broader debates about what national health insurance records mean.
Keywords: National health insurance, gender, social security, Ireland
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