View Full Version : DU swallows absurd twisting of history hook, line and sinker

06-17-2012, 02:26 AM

pnwmom (38,352 posts)

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If a health insurance mandate is unconstitutional, why did George Washington sign one in 1790?

Last edited Fri Jun 15, 2012, 03:35 PM USA/ET - Edit history (3)
Why are conservatives (and even some DUers) saying there has been no precedent for the Supreme Court approving a health insurance mandate?

Because -- while Congress has legislated such mandates in the past -- such a case has never come to the Supreme Court . Because, until recently, no one ever challenged such a mandate. Suddenly, a type of regulation that has existed since the earliest days of our Republic is now claimed to be unconstitutional.


By Einer Elhauge (a professor at Harvard Law School, who joined an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the mandate)

If Health Insurance Mandates Are Unconstitutional, Why Did the Founding Fathers Back Them?

In making the legal case against Obamacare’s individual mandate, challengers have argued that the framers of our Constitution would certainly have found such a measure to be unconstitutional. Nevermind that nothing in the text or history of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause indicates that Congress cannot mandate commercial purchases. The framers, challengers have claimed, thought a constitutional ban on purchase mandates was too “obvious” to mention. Their core basis for this claim is that purchase mandates are unprecedented, which they say would not be the case if it was understood this power existed.

But there’s a major problem with this line of argument: It just isn’t true. The founding fathers, it turns out, passed several mandates of their own. In 1790, the very first Congress—which incidentally included 20 framers—passed a law that included a mandate: namely, a requirement that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. This law was then signed by another framer: President George Washington. That’s right, the father of our country had no difficulty imposing a health insurance mandate.

Now, if you're like me, you're probably wondering, "They had health/medical insurance back then?" And also, if you're still like me, you'd decide to look up this alleged law to see if the claim is true. Unlike me, however, you don't have to do the work because I just did it for you. :friendly_wink:

Here's images of the text of the law in question (starts with "Sec. 8" near the bottom of the first link):



Here's the text:

Sec 8 And be it [further] enacted, That every ship or vessel belonging to a citizen or citizens of the United States, of the burthen of one hundred and fifty tons or upwards, navigated by ten or more persons in the whole, and bound on a voyage without the limits of the of the United States, shall be provided with a chest of medicines, put up by some apothecary of known reputation, and accompanied by directions for administering the same; and the said medicines shall be examined by the same or other apothecary, once at least every year, and supplied with fresh medicines in the place of such as shall have been used or spoiled; and in default of having such a medicine chest so provided, and kept fit for use, the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall provide and pay for all such advice, medicine, or attendance of physicians, as any of the crew shall stand in need of in case of sickness, at every port or place where the ship or vessel may touch or trade at during the voyage, without any deduction from the wages of such sick seaman or mariner.

Clearly, this is not "health/medical insurance." Oy. George Washington and the Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves right now.

06-17-2012, 10:05 AM
Most Excellent!!! This is clearly meant for 1%ers and their Mega-Yachts!! :thumbsup: