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George Washington's Health Insurance Individual Mandate

"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."



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George Washington isn't god.

Even if this were true, that doesn't make it right just because George Washington did it. Stop worshiping the hucklebucks who founded the country. They were rich white men who didn't want to pay taxes and wanted to be free so they could own black people. As far as I'm concerned they were hypocrites and liars.

You want people to idolize as founders of freedom? Try your own Ron Paul, or maybe JFK, or MLK, or Abraham Lincoln, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Richard Dawkins, or Benjamin Franklin, or Rosa Parks. Those people, and you people yourselves, know a hell of a lot more about freedom and liberty than those rotten slave owning bastards. Stop this notion that they're sacrosanct or above reproach just because they lived a long time ago. You sound like a bunch of religious nuts.

There was no mandate in the

There was no mandate in the 1790 law. Check the research by randy Barnett. You've been duped by a huffpro myth.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.


Convenient they using a founding father when it suits them...I am not talking left of right I am talking fascist,communist,socialist,ect leaders we have today on either side of the republicrats party.

There was no mandate to buy

There was no mandate to buy health insurance in the GW law. There was a small tax laid upon sailors and some of the money was used for medical care per the needs of national defense. Nothing in the law said anyone has to buy insurance. If you did buy insurance, you were still levied the same tax anyway.

The is a liberal aka Huffington Post aka Thom Hartmann aka dailykos myth.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

This was not an insurance

This was not an insurance mandate, the liberals are just calling it a mandate hoping no one will read the actual law. The law layed a tax of 20 cents per month on the pay of seamen. Some of this tax money was put into a fund that was earmarked to help sick seamen, although the money could have been spent on building a navy as well. The law only applied to those who chose to engage in the commerce of trade on the high seas.

The mandate requiring gun ownership is a totally different banana. First of all, it admits that the right to bear arms is an individual right. Second, the law was passed under the militia clauses of the Constitution, not commerce clause. The Founders considered gun rights and militias to be special cases in law.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

Not the same as a condition for breathing

Mandating insurance as a condition of engaging in naval commerce is pretty clearly an enumerated Congressional power. "...regulate commerce with foreign nations, Indian tribes, and among the several states..."

Andrew Sullivan cannot be expected to understand this subtle distinction between Constitutionally authorized and not. Apparently any mandate is the same as any other mandate.

I wouldn't believe this

I wouldn't believe this article unless you see and read the TEXT of the law. If the law is what the liberals and statists imply, then Madison and Jefferson would have likely raised a stink about it. I would also check to see if a similar law existed under the articles of Confederation, because many of the first laws were borrowed from it. The general welfare clause was also borrowed from the AoC.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

insurance of any type . . .

has always given the monopolistic nod to allopathic (or conventional; wiki tells me that conventional medical practitioners don't like the term 'allopathy') medicine. Allopathy has its valid purposes, but monopolies aren't ever healthy.

People who prefer or who need alternative medical treatment are caught in a big trap by insurance(s) and social programs for medical care.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

War Powers vs. Commerce Clause

The mandate regarding seamen wasn't justified using the commerce clause, it was a War Power. Every mariner at that time was an unofficial Naval Reservist.

I think what this makes clear

I think what this makes clear is that the Constitution is not an easy document to interpret.

If you look at the ratifiers, you might have general consensus on certain issues, but on very few issues was there a strong majority consensus. On other issues there was simple compromise.

Ultimately, it is up to the people to decide. If they feel that Congress is using the Constitution unjustly, vote them out. This is why Obamacare will fail, while something like the Patriot Act will not fail.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

This seems similar to the

This seems similar to the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen. However, these both don't justify an individual mandate. See here: http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/does-that-1798-act-make-obamaca...

Also, here: http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/some-guy-ron-paul-doesnt-know-t...

One more: http://florida.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/04/merchant-sea...

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

I am an aristocrat. I love liberty; I hate equality. - John Randolph of Roanoke

I know he had no problem

attacking the frontier whiskey makers to force an unjust tax on them and to send a message of central statism under Hamiltons guidance. Consent of the governed has always been a farce.

If I recall, "expert historians" lied about "gun control" ...

in the colonies. Besides, as you so correctly pointed out, public officials didn't wait until the ink was dry before violating the Constitution.

I'm of the opinion that the

I'm of the opinion that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is how it was viewed at the time by the people who ratified it. The fact that some people responsible for framing it may have passed a particular law shortly after doesn't make it constitutional. The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed during this same time period, and they were blatantly unconstitutional

If true.

It's just more proof that the Constitution was already being gutted and ignored from the start.

I wouldn't surprised if this is true, Alexander Hamilton(the root of all that is wrong in American Politics) was one of Washington's most trusted advisors.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com

"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

I'd Say There Are Two Possibilities

1. The author of this article has his facts wrong (likely).

2. The author of the article has the facts right, and the founders wrote some bad legislation.

Either way, Obamney-care must be struck down.

So RObamney is GW re-incarnated as two people?

I still prefer RON PAUL!


This is interesting.

The question I see here though is if by forcing shipowners and seamen to purchase health insurance if that would be considered to fall under the Commerce Clause or not. It would merit digging into any debate or discussion the First Congress had concerning this issue to see what part of the Constitution they viewed themselves to be doing this under.

Two views I've seen

Two views I've seen presented... 1.) It's commerce clause since the government bore the cost of seamen's health on the sea 2.) exclusive federal jurisdiction over dockyards

"You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage...Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one...Above all do not appear to others what you are not" - Robert E. Lee, CSA

Several of the founders also

Several of the founders also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts... ssshhhh. Don't tell anyone, they'll use that to say Patriot Act has Constitutional precedent.

"You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage...Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one...Above all do not appear to others what you are not" - Robert E. Lee, CSA

I'm Surprised That Obama Hasn't Raised The Point

Or that the Solicitor General didn't do so to the Supreme Court.

I wonder whether opponents to the measure called it "WashingtonCare."

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

See the link for a discussion


BTW, slavery was legal in 1790, also practiced by some of the Founding Fathers, neither of which make a convincing argument for allowing it today.

That's completely irrelevant.

Slavery was legal then. By passing the 13th amendment, the people of the United States used the method the Founders provided to change the Constitution to make it illegal. If you fall back on the "Well the Founders owned slaves, so we should be skeptical of their judgement in other areas as well" argument then one could just as easily make the case for gun control, saying the Second amedment shouldn't apply today since it was crafted by men who lived in an era when slavery was legal and by some men who even owned slaves themselves. The insurance mandate doesn't have anything to do with slavery any more than gun control would.

It's completely relevant to the argument that what was allowed

in 1790 or done by the Founding Fathers should influence what we do today. The Founding Fathers were not infallible, neither is the Constitution, otherwise it would not need to be amended as you mentioned.

They, nor the Constitution was infallible

but the ability to amend the Constitution was part of the Constitution. The closest thing to a perfect Constitution for a republican form of government short of God coming back to Earth in human form and writing one Himself would have to contain a provision for altering it provided an overwhelming majority of the people want to, otherwise, it would not be the Constitution of a Republican form of government. If it's relevant to the argument that what was allowed or done by the Founding Fathers should [not necessarily] influence what we do today. (I think that's what you meant(:), then liberal statists have an argument for why the Second amendment is outdated and irrelevant and should be done away with and why we should amend the Constitution to provide for "a more independent judiciary" as Justice Ginsburg put it.

The statists can argue what they will, but the right

to self-defense existed before the Founders were born and before the Constitution or any Amendments were written. That right does not depend upon what any Founder said, did, or wrote, nor what what in the Constitution or any subsequent amendment. The Second Amendment was written in an attempt to restrict government from infringing on the pre-existing right to self-defense. The argument that the 2nd amendment (or any other law, for that matter), is to be revered because a Founding Father supported it, strikes me as the weakest to be made.

Prohibition was also instituted by Constitutional amendment (18th), but repealed by another amendment (21st). We could also discuss whether the 16th amendment (income tax) infringes on pre-existing rights (to enjoy the fruits of ones labors).

We seem to agree the Constitution, as written by men, is fallible. I believe there is a higher law (based on natural rights) that does not rely upon what the Constitution says today (or the Founding Fathers said in the 18th century).

The "statists" believe that healthcare is a "natural right"

and that keeping the fruits of one's labor is not. Arguing with a liberal statist over natural rights is futile because a Progressive has a different concept of what natural rights are. The point I was making is you can't say that just because the Founders practiced something we find disagreement with today (slaver) is not grounds to argue that if they believed in mandated health insurance that we should not run with that idea. Natural rights do not trump codified rightsi in the Constitution any more than the Progressives' ideas of "civil rights" trump the codified rights spelled out in the Constitution. If mandated health insurance was Constitutional in 1790, it is Constitutoinal in 2012 becaue no Constitutional amendment has been added that deals with healthcare.

I'm going to disagree that the Constution trumps natural rights

because I believe, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that we have inalienable rights, ones that cannot be granted or taken away by men or the pieces of paper they create.

You are, of course, free to believe otherwise, as is your right.

The problem with extra-Constitutional rights

is that my definition of "natural rights" may not match your definition of natural rights. True, our Declaration of Independence lays out "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness" as the God-given rights that "all men" are endowed with. But, even if every single person in America agrees with that, we still have to have a written law that has to be followed. A politician can't just ignore part of the Constitution because he believes it conflicts with natural rights. If every politician did that, noone would follow the Constitution, because I'm sure everyone can find conflict in is personal definition of natural rights and some part of the Constitution.

The problem with Constitutional rights

is that that they are subject to repeal, interpretation, and abrogration by men, while natural rights are not.
The classical Lockean definition of natural rights are life, liberty, and property. Exercising natural rights does not infringe the natual rights of another person.
As far as following written law, I'm glad that Northerners ignored the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act and refused to return escaped slaves to their "owners" in the South. I'm also proud of the jurors who used nullification and refused to convict those who helped slaves escape. That's just one example of how natural rights and natural law can be superior to "written law".
The problem that politicians have with natual law is that it does not give them power over others in the same way that the laws they devise do. And don't hold your breath waiting for a trial judge to inform a jury that they arfe allowed to be triers of the facts and the "law".