position that health insurance should be a national program integrated into the federal social security system. 134
During the 1930s, the enactment of various welfare programs guaranteed that New Yorkers would receive government protection against the perils of unemployment, old age, and some disabilities. The state's commitment to provide insurance and public assistance grew out of the Depression, which reformers, lawmakers, and judges repeatedly cited as proof that neither individuals nor private agencies could deal adequately with economic dependency in an industrial society. Although local communities had furnished some aid to the indigent before the 1930s, relief had been given sparingly as a matter of charity. Under the New Deal, Albany and Washington not only greatly improved existing public assistance programs, but also instituted novel social insurance schemes. During 1936, Lehman noted the new role of government:
There have been important changes in the public view of the standards of care due to dependent groups, and at the same time an appreciation that the State's responsibility for the welfare of human beings does not end with the institutional care of unfortunates.
The purpose of government is not only to protect the lives and property of its people . . . , but also to bring increased happiness, contentment and security into the homes of its people. 135
In pursuit of security, New Yorkers embraced the primary goal of the Welfare State--a government-guaranteed minimum standard of living as a matter of right.