How The Founding Fathers Loved Individual Mandates

One of the primary arguments used by opponents to the Individual Mandate, a Republican creation, of the Affordable Care Act is that it is unprecedented and UnConstitutional.

Well, that’s not really true.

A January article from the New England Journal of Medicine gives a quick history lesson on how the Founding Fathers approved of individual mandates, including those for health care.

Others argue that the Constitution’s framers could not possibly have envisioned a congressional power to force purchases. However, in 1790, the first Congress, which was packed with framers, required all ship owners to provide medical insurance for seamen; in 1798, Congress also required seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. In 1792, Congress enacted a law mandating that all able-bodied citizens obtain a firearm. This history negates any claim that forcing the purchase of insurance or other products is unprecedented or contrary to any possible intention of the framers.

Seems to be history, yet again, is not on the side of the GOP and the Tea Party.

Now, some will claim that the founders wouldn’t have or didn’t support these mandates, and again, that claim is false.

There was no roll call for the House and Senate bills requiring health care for seamen. But on the proposal mandating the purchase of a musket, firelock or rifle as part of the larger bill to establish a uniform militia, 10 of the 14 framers whose votes were recorded endorsed the measure.

The Supreme Court has upheld, even as recently as 2005, that Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives it the power to act when an individual’s action, or inaction, has an effect on the market as a whole.

Not purchasing health insurance, or being able to purchase insurance, affects the market on a whole.  People without insurance will, typically, use the emergency room for medical services.  The taxpayer picks up the tab, raising hospital rates, and therefore insurance rates.

I find it amazing that the Democrats are arguing the side of personal responsibility, by making sure everyone insures themselves and their families, and the GOP is arguing that the taxpayer should continue to foot the bill for those who don’t/can’t get insurance.

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