Individual Mandate: OK With Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers may have liked ObamaCare: Einer Elhauge
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2012 2:06 PM CDT
Individual Mandate: OK With Founding Fathers
The Committee of Five present their draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Congress on June 28, 1776. Painting by John Trumbull.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Health insurance mandates—unconstitutional? That's what the opponents of ObamaCare are arguing, "but there’s a major problem with this line of argument: It just isn’t true," writes Einer Elhuage in The New Republic. In fact, the founding fathers passed more than one mandate in Congress in the 1790s. To wit:

  • The first Congress (including 20 framers) passed a law mandating that ship owners buy medical insurance for seamen. President George Washington signed it into law. "That's right, the father of our country," writes Elhauge.

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  • Two years later, Congress passed another statute "that required all able-bodied men to buy firearms. ... only one framer voted to repeal it." Washington signed that one too.
  • In 1798, Congress enacted a mandate that seamen buy their own hospital insurance (as separate from drugs and physician services). President John Adams, a founding father, put his signature on it.
"There is no evidence that any of the few framers who voted against these mandates ever objected on constitutional grounds," Elhauge writes. "The framers thought not just purchase mandates but medical insurance mandates were perfectly proper indeed." Click for the full article. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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