April 15, 2012
Elhauge: The Founders Supported Health Insurance Mandates
Einer Elhauge (Harvard) writes in The New Republic that the Founders supported health insurance mandates in his piece If Health Insurance Mandates Are Unconstitutional, Why Did the Founding Fathers Back Them?--and that therefore so should the Court.
According to Elhauge, the Founders supported health insurance mandates twice. Here's what he has to say:
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. . . .
[L]ater, in 1798, Congress addressed the problem that the employer mandate to buy medical insurance for seamen covered drugs and physician services but not hospital stays. And you know what this Congress, with five framers serving in it, did? It enacted a federal law requiring the seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. That's right, Congress enacted an individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance. And this act was signed by another founder, President John Adams.
Moreover, Elhauge argues that because the founders approved of health insurance mandates, they must certainly be proper (as in Necessary and Proper) in the PPACA.
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