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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/52

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

suffering from chronic diseases, and imposes upon the societies the obligation to receive such persons when they otherwise satisfy the requirements of admission. The same paragraph of the new act contains a sort of promise of invalidity insurance, running: 'until in other ways means shall be provided by special regulations to help persons suffering from chronic diseases and the like.' Persons who cannot now be classed as poor may be admitted as 'passive' members (paying a subscription), with the right at a later period to participate in the advantages offered by the society in case their circumstances should necessitate it.

A very important point is the relation of the societies to physicians. Gradually, as the friendly societies extended further and further, the physicians found it more and more difficult to maintain their former philanthropic position. It consequently became necessary for them to present claims for money which the societies did not always understand, with result that disputes arose between them. The new law, accordingly, provides for the establishment of an arbitration council, that is, a conciliatory council, to which such disputes can be referred. While the societies are, of course, under the control of the state, they still have an independent administration to a great extent, both severally through their own annual assemblies and jointly through the co-operation which has come about in the course of years.

The several societies have combined in a number of Central Societies, each with its special board, and these again, through their chairmen, form a committee. Moreover, meetings of delegates are held to consider such questions as are of importance for the whole sick fund institution. Finally, there is the Friendly Society Council, previously mentioned, the membership of which is now fixed by the new law at nine.

Since the law went into operation, in 1916, the new arrangement here briefly described has considerably furthered the sick fund institution in Denmark. A few figures will bear