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Anderson, Mathias S. (1882-1974)

Mathias (Matthew) Severin Anderson was born in Hoddevik, Norway, on October 22, 1882. He homesteaded in the Bulyea district in 1905, changing his first name to Matthew at that time. As councillor (1922-30) and reeve (1930-49) of the Rural Municipality of McKillop #220, his personal studies and Education of the public led to Canada's first comprehensive tax-paid medical and hospital insurance plan. Year after year, beginning in 1927, he presented his resolution for a health insurance plan at the rural municipal conventions. Failing to receive the required support, he decided to focus on his own municipality. Following consultation with several Cabinet ministers and members of the medical profession, the outlines of the plan were submitted to the voters of the municipality in 1938 and received overwhelming support.

The plan was introduced to the Legislature in March 1939 as the “Matt Anderson Plan”; the bill, officially known as An Act Respecting Medical and Hospital Services for Municipalities, was passed by Order-in-Council. This allowed municipalities to collect taxes for health services. The plan provided for residents to obtain unrestricted services of the physician of their choice (unlike municipal doctor plans), including specialist services, hospital accommodation up to 21 days, and prescription drugs (this was cancelled after sixteen months), at a cost of $5 per year, up to a maximum of $50 per family. Within a decade the plan had been adopted by a number of other municipalities. It was the forerunner of the Swift Current regional plan and the Saskatchewan medical care legislation of 1962. Matt Anderson was a successful farmer, a skilled carpenter, and with his wife Martha (neé Amundson, 1883-1962) he raised a family of seven Children. He died in Regina on July 24, 1974.

Marilyn Decker

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Further Reading

Anderson, M.S. and H. Longman. 1969. Bold Experiment. Regina: Commercial Printers.
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