CHAPTER XXI
COVERAGE

In the present chapter we are to deal with the question, "Who should be covered by a system of relief and social security?" We shall start with an attempt at a very general answer and then take up qualifications. In giving a broad answer we shall assume that there is substantial agreement that the basic fundamental objective of social insurance and relief is to prevent anybody from being or remaining in want. The existence of want requires the state to take appropriate action to see that want is relieved. If that general assumption is accepted, the broad answer to the question is simple. Every man, woman, and child resident in the country should be covered without any exceptions.

That answer does not mean, however, that every man, woman, and child should be relieved from want in precisely the same way, that there should be no differentiation with respect to the causes of want, or that the social security system itself should be all embracing. In the next chapter the question of what causes of need should be covered by the social security system will be taken up in detail. Here we need only point out that certain classes of the population require treatment, custodial care, or restraint in specialized public institutions. Institutional care prevents them from being in want. If they happen to have dependents who do not require institutional care, these dependents lie within the sphere of the social security system.

From the broad assumption another conclusion seems to follow. Relief of actual want occupies a position of very high priority in its claims on the funds of the state. Ahead of it one would place necessary operating costs of government, preservation of law and order, national defense, essential health protection and governmental activities essential for the continued production of necessary goods and services. The theory underlying this statement is that the safety of all cannot be jeopar

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