Skip to comments.Newsflash: Founders favored "government run health care" (uh, no, not exactly...)
Posted on 01/20/2011 12:39:29 PM PST by markomalley
Forbes writer Rick Ungar is getting some attention for a piece arguing that history shows that John Adams supported a strong Federal role in health care. Ungar argues that Adams even championed an early measure utilizing the concept behind the individual mandate, which Tea Partyers say is unconsittutional.
I just ran this theory past a professor of history who specializes in the early republic, and he said there's actually something to it. Short version: There's no proof from the historical record that Adams would have backed the idea behind the individual mandate in particular. But it is fair to conclude, the professor says, that the founding generation supported the basic idea of government run health care, and the use of mandatory taxation to pay for it.
Here's the background. Ungar points out that in July of 1798, Congress passed "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seaman," which was signed by President Adams. That law authorized the creation of a government operated system of marine hospitals and mandated that laboring sailors pay a tax to support it.
Ungar argues that this blows away the argument made by many opponents of the individual mandate: That it's unconstitutional to mandate that all citizens purchase health coverage, or that this violates the founding fathers' view of the proper role of government.
Is this true? In some ways it is, according to Adam Rothman, an associated professor of history at Georgetown University. He argues that it's a "bit of a leap" to compare the 1798 act directly to the individual mandate, because the act taxed sailors to pay for their health care, rather than "requiring that sailors purchase it."
(Excerpt) Read more at voices.washingtonpost.com ...
Having read a number of your posts over the years... I agree.
The maritime world was different back then. We didn't have a significant standing Navy, and relied on augmentation from experienced merchant seaman to staff naval vessels when needed. We also, it should be remembered, could militarize merchant vessels via letters of marque. Congress also was given specific power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, as well as control over navigable waterways.
Now you put all that together, and it seem to me that the nexus is the unique position merchant seamen occupied at that point in history, and express powers Congress was given relating to the navy, letters of marque and reprisal, foreign trade, navigation, etc.. Especially when you consider that many of those seaman were operating outside the jurisdiction of any state, and were representing the U.S. in international waters.
Such a precedent based on admiralty-related factors has absolutely nothing to do with providing health care coverage for the citizenry as a whole.
One of the great flaws of Glenn Beck is his ascribing to the Founders a homogenous outlook on govt.Madison, for example, saw things much as Quincy Adams, but wanted to pass amendments to allow govt these powers, and would be surprised by how few amendments have been passed.
Not sure how to take that.....:/
Next they’ll be trotting out the US Sailors and Soldiers Home (USSSH) deductions we had taken out of our paychecks as proof.
Relax... It’s a good thing. %^)
Ungar is patronizing and dismissive in his response to those who disagree with him following the article. I guess my response is a simple question: why didn’t this act extend to the farmers, the laborers, the clerks, the merchants, and everyone else who carried out business in the U.S. at the time? The use of this act as justification for Obamacare is a stretch, and shows the desperation on the Left. It was for relief of people who carried out a risky and valuable service to this country, and extended only to those areas in which the federal government already had authority.
That won’t stop the drones from reposting and arguing this for the next week or so. I hope the attorneys general who have filed against Obamacare can shut this one down definitively so it doesn’t clog the intertubes.