It is widely believed that the turning point for U.S. health insurance came in 1949 when Congress failed to adopt President Harry Truman's proposal for a national system. The possibility that a system of state-level health plans might have emerged before Truman's plan has received little attention. Yet several attempts to enact such a plan were made in California by Governor Earl Warren in the mid-1940s. Had Warren succeeded, the California example might have been emulated by other states and the United States might have evolved a system similar to Canada's provincial programs.

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