Founders' Mandate

by Zoe Pollock

Rick Ungar unearthed this healthcare historical tidbit:

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.

But Paul Waldman refuses to rub it in the Tea Party's face:

It's tempting to play the Tea Partiers' game on this if you find the ammunition -- few things are more fun then hoisting your opponents on their own petard -- but it doesn't do much good in the long run. The "originalist" position, whether in law or policy, is just indefensible. No sane person can believe that if we just read the Constitution or find a nugget from something the Founders did, all of our policy choices will have only one answer. And joining in the right's Founding Father fetishism is a mug's game.