Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and his counterparts in 25 other states have mounted a constitutional challenge to the health care reform act on constitutional grounds.
As a recent McKenna press release puts it, the new law contains “the unprecedented and unconstitutional requirement that all Americans must obtain or purchase private health care insurance or face a fine.” (italics added.)
But it turns out that in 1798, the Fifth U.S. Congress approved a measure setting up a health care system for privately-employed U.S. merchant marine sailors. The sailors paid for this health system themselves via mandatory pay deductions. The health system established for that purpose evolved into the U.S. Public Health Service.
Among other things, Ungar notes that members of the Fifth Congress did not have to ponder the intent of the Constitution’s framers. Many of them WERE framers. Ungar’s blog contains links to the 1798 legislation, which takes up one and one-quarter pages. It was a simpler time.
Ken Oplinger, president of the Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called my attention to this via Facebook.