Thomas Jefferson Also Supported Government Run Health Care: In response to my earlier piece on “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen”, the 1798 law revealing that a number of our founders were more supportive of the notion of mandated health coverage and a government run hospital system than some may have imagined, many have noted that it is not surprising that such legislation would have been signed into law by President John Adams, a noted Federalist....
Greg Sargent, today reports that it wasn’t only John Adams who supported the notion of government run health care. According to Georgetown University history professor and noted historian of America’s early days, Adam Rothman, Thomas Jefferson –the iconic hero of the Tea Party – also supported the legislation. Sargent reprints the following email he received from Prof. Rothan on the subject –
Alexander Hamilton supported the establishment of Marine Hospitals in a 1792 Report, and it was a Federalist congress that passed the law in 1798. But Jefferson (Hamilton’s strict constructionist nemesis) also supported federal marine hospitals, and along with his own Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, took steps to improve them during his presidency. So I guess you could say it had bipartisan support.
Ezra Klein adds to the debate pointing out that:
...it was a payroll tax that all sailors on private merchant ships had to pay, and in return, they were basically given access to a small public health-care system. But it was, in essence, a regulation against a form of inactivity: You were not allowed to not do something, in this case, pay for sailor’s health insurance.
There are those who will continue to argue that these indications of how the founders viewed these issues in their own time do not necessarily resolve the issue as to how we may, Constitutionally speaking, proceed with reforming the health care system of today.
They may well be right.
But, at the least, can we not agree that the mounting evidence as to how men like Jefferson and Adams perceived the issue should bar the attempt to pin the objections to health care reform on the backs of the nation’s founders?...