The program was considered the least important from Bismarck’s point of view, and the least politically troublesome. The program was established to provide health care for the largest segment of the Germanian workers. The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. The employers contributed 1/3rd, while the workers contributed 2/3rds . The minimum payments for medical treatment and Sick Pay for up to 13 weeks were legally fixed. The individual local health bureaus were administered by a committee elected by the members of each bureau, and this move had the unintended effect of establishing a majority representation for the workers on account of their large financial contribution. This worked to the advantage of the Social Democrats who – through heavy Worker membership – achieved their first small foothold in public administration.
The Act, albelit with many amendments and repeals, is still in effect today.