John Adams Started Healthcare Reform

5 Nov

I’m not an avid supporter of the health care reform package signed into law last week. It’s just not socialism, and everybody should bring it back a little bit. That was my point. But now some readers got all hot and bothered, so you’ve forced me to make an argument.

Good job.

So let’s address these issues one at a time, today we will address the issue of the constitution and how some believe this is an unprecedented transgression on our civil liberties, yadda yadda. The argument being making people get health care violates their first amendment rights to live however they damn well please, basically.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ensuring a minimum role of government in our society. Expanded government definitely infringes upon personal freedoms. The problem is that health care has an effect beyond the individual who chooses to not get insurance.

A person who gets sick is still entitled to medical care if they show up at a hospital and who pays for that? That’s right the taxpayer.It’s not all that different, in my opinion, then the creation of municipal-government run fire departments. The old policy was to have private fire departments that a homeowner could hire if they wanted to.

The problem was that some guys house catches on fire and he doesn’t have a private fire department so the fire spreads until it hits a house who employs a fire department. So people got together and established a town fire department that everyone paid for through this thing called taxes for the mutual benefit for the group. The fire department is absolutely a form of government mandated socialism in this country, probably in most countries.

Now I’m not saying these are parallel situation, fire and health care. But they are similar in there social impact. My health is at risk when a co-worker, or a fellow student, has the swine flu that goes untreated because he/she doesn’t have health insurance.

But I’m getting off topic.  The ability of the Congress to regulate commerce, a well established right of the legislature, is as old as the founders…in fact John Adams is the first President to mandate health care coverage by private industry. Not President Obama.

In 1798 Congress passed, and John Adams signed, An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seaman, (I’ll pause for laughter).  This legislation required privately employed sailors to purchase health care insurance.  Well doesn’t that sounds familiar.

More over the Seaman health bill (pausing again for laughter), created a kind of hospital system for disabled or sick sailors. To pay for this new governmental service America’s first payroll tax was enacted, requiring 20 cents from each sailors pay to be deducted for potential hospital care. Failure to pay this tax could be penalized with a fine.

That’s what we like to call precedent, bitches.


4 Responses to “John Adams Started Healthcare Reform”

  1. Chris March 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Note that that would be a similar risk pool because they are all in the same profession. The scenario is different but I can see what your claim is, that this set a so-called precedent for federal involvement in healthcare.

    Also, isnt Congress allowed to act in such a case because the duties of sailors fell under interstate commerce? many sailors were pressed into the navy and this was more a public health thing, than a healthcare issue due to diseases sailors were bringing back.

    However, just because something hasnt been deemed unconstitutional yet doesnt mean it isnt. John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. If these ever had a Supreme Court hearing it is guaranteed they would be Unconstitutional, they expired before they could be taken up.

    Also historically speaking, the Supreme Court hadnt really gained its legs so to speak in 1798. Marbury v. Madison wasnt until 1803 and in my opinion when review of power became established.

    Its a little deceptive to say Adams would have been for this bill, however Jason must be shooting steam from his ears.

  2. Dave March 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    The question is not whether John Adams would have supported this bill, he probably wouldn’t. The question is, “does the Federal government have the right to mandate a citizen to purchase a private good?” And Mr. Flynn, a.k.a. Pale Thunder has shown that there is precedent for Federal authority to be used in this way, when it deems that the social benefits outweigh the negatives of restriction of freedom and liberty.

  3. Chris March 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Im saying this is a very weak precedent that was used prior to any judical examples of what actually is a precedent!

    • David March 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

      Create your Whig party already Christopher!

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