Six Companies Hospital

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700 Arizona Street or 701 Park Place, Boulder City, Nevada  89005

In Colossus:

“Six Companies built a hospital for its worker and bureau employees on the hill where De Boer had originally decreed a resort hotel. Employees paid a $1.50 monthly fee entitling them to comprehensive treatment – the earliest expression of Henry Kaiser’s concept of employer-provided prepaid medical care, which would ultimately flow into the nonprofit Kaiser Permanente Health Plan.”  Page 260

In Real Life:

You’ve probably heard of it – Kaiser Permanente? The health care network insures almost ten million people and it also makes really great commercials. Some of the first people to be covered by Henry Kaiser’s unique medical care program were the workers building Hoover Dam. Kaiser headed one of the companies which built the dam and so they went with his idea of “employer-provided prepaid medical care.” As Michael Hiltzik describes in Colossus, workers could get medical care whenever they needed it and no matter what was wrong with them – all for only a dollar fifty a month. Kaiser took that health care model and went with it and eventually it became the health care network that it is today. I thought it would be interesting to see where the whole Kaiser thing started – at the hospital Six Companies built for the workers – Boulder City Hospital. I drove up to it – now a ramshackle, seemingly deserted property on Arizona Street. I guess it’s a retreat center but there’s talk that it will soon be new homes and even more talk of saving it from that fate. I drove around the buildings. No one was around but I could imagine a time when dam workers lined up to get healthcare that unleashed a whole new kind of medical care in America.

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