Lumberjack Heath Care Plan

The lumberjacks possed a peculiar type of hospitalization unknown to most of us today. A lumberjack of Northern Wisconsin could buy a ‘hospital ticket’ for the sum of $3.50 which was good for one year. It was exclusively for the lumberjacks. Hospitals in Tomahawk, Ashland, and Marinette, besides St. Mary’s in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, used the plan in the years about 1880 to 1912.

When lumber was the king of Wisconsin, the lumberjacks were a vital and necessary part of society. Every spring when the lumberjacks came to town to spend their winter wages, a man representing the Sisters would sell the men their hospital tickets. Sometimes the men would go from lumber camp to lumber camp selling the tickets before the jacks could get to town and spend all their money. The men were always happy to have the opportunity to buy them, because they knew most of them would return to the woods broke.

from: Wisconsin Lore by Robert E. Gard & L. G. Sorden

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