Wednesday, January 26, 2011

History Lesson

As the all-for-show arguments proceed in Congress, I wonder how many teabaggers know this:
In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.

Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution.

And when the Bill came to the desk of President John Adams for signature, I think it’s safe to assume that the man in that chair had a pretty good grasp on what the framers had in mind.

As I've said many times, health insurance reform would have been a lot more palatable had there been some form of "public option." In fact, as we now see, it may have been diabolically clever of the Rs to kibosh it -- don't fling me into the briar patch -- forcing the "individual mandate" instead. Because that's the main objection people have to the bill, the fulcrum Rs needed on which to place the lever of their lies about the rest of the legislation.

Founding fathers. Founding principles.


Frank Drackman said...

Umm Sid, might wanta actually READ your links..
Cause I did, and the "Act for Relief of Sick & Disabled Semen" doesn't even mention Medical Insurance, probably because there wasn't any in 1798.

Just that the Government would take 20 cents/Month/Sailor to provide Medial Care, gee, sounds like the VA...


Sid Schwab said...

Well, Frankie, I'll admit it takes both reading and thinking at the same time... The money collected was to pay for care of the seamen, and it even included the building of hospitals. If you collect money, save and invest it (also in the bill) and use the funds to pay for care, that's what we'd call insurance around here.

But, okay, it was actually a government-run project, sort of like medicare (or, yeah, the VA), right? Government-run health care, paid for by mandatory collections, set up by the Progenitor Pops. Stick that in your teabag and dip it.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sid,

Like the VA or Ocean/deep sea issues, maritime law is under the jurisdiction of the FEDERAL government.

Compare that to healthcare in the US, which is and always has been under STATE control. Doctors get their licenses from individual STATES, not the federal government. Just because you ignore the 10th Amendment doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

As to your point of the Founders espousing a form of government run healthcare, thanks for posting. I wonder if the seamen felt they were getting their money's worth as some barber-surgeon was bloodletting them?

Kidding aside, it's an interesting point about the 5th Congress creating an individual mandate for an entire profession but I'm not sure if it can be inferred that a mandate for the ENTIRE US population to buy a product would have been approved by the founders.

A case could have been made for STATE RUN healthcare systems, which I endorsed previously as worthy experiments in liberal leaning states, and perfectly legal per the 10th amendment.

I wonder how the founders would proceed today with the ability to compare the quality of care in government run VA's to private hospitals?


P.S. You've mentioned multiple times how a "strong 2 party system" is necessary for good government. Since we're imploring the wisdom of the Founders today, perhaps you should peruse George Washington's farewell address, paying extra attention to PARAGRAPH 24 where he warns of the DANGERS of POLITICAL PARTIES.

Sid Schwab said...

PT: the idea of NO parties hadn't occurred to me (although I've read discussions of it), and it has much to recommend it. I was just saying that since we have a two party system and aren't likely not to have, I'd prefer two thoughtful parties, each committed to problem solving with the long term health (in more ways than one) of the country at the forefront. We don't, currently.

As to money's worth, I'd say they got at least twenty cent's value. I bet a couple of leeches cost at least a penny.

And, uh, with the VA and medicare and medicaid, health care in the US is hardly exclusively under state control. Nor does the fact that maritime law is federal change the fact that it was a federally mandated taking of money for the provision of care. The sailors were not government employees.

As to what the founding dads would say today, I'll leave it to you to read the tea leaves. I'm neither have the powers nor the interest in speaking for them.

Pieter B said...

The individual mandate has been proposed as a "personal responsibility" measure by GOPers clear back to Richard Nixon. John McCain proposed it as an alternative to "Hillarycare" in the 1990s.

Mitt Romney, a potential 2012 Republican candidate for President, signed such a system into law in Massachusetts in 2006, and often patted himself on the back about it until quite recently.

Apparently the GOP doesn't think their base is that stupid, they know it.

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