groups in this country, is found indirectly in a history of such movements
given in The Socialization of Medicine, by Edith M. Phelps, published in
1931, who wrote:
"According to the International Labor Bureau of the League of
Nations, voluntary health insurance or group medicine was adopted in
Italy (1886), Sweden (1891), Denmark (1892), Belgium (1894), Finland
(1897), France (1898), Spain (1908), Switzerland (1911) . . . . . Germany
was the first to establish compulsory health insurances, in 1883 . . . .
Germany, England, Denmark and Sweden found that voluntary health
insurance or group medicine would not succeed, and had to make it
The book does not say when such a system was started in the
United States, but it would appear that neither she nor any other writer
on the subject was aware of the establishment of group medicine in
Tampa as early as 1887, nor of the continuous operation of such societies
in Tampa and in Havana, Cuba of more than 50 years. Library research
discloses nothing about the Tampa or Havana associations, but old-timers
in the movement are able to supply valuable data.
Fermino Souto, 81-year old charter member of Centro Espanol,
related that as a boy he emigrated from Spain to Havana in 1870, and
that by 1879 there was an a active society for voluntary group medicine
in Havana, the plan of which copied in Tampa by El Porvenir in 1888
and by Centro Espanol in 1901.