Ok, so apparently 14 or more state Attorneys General, including my state’s AG, Mike Cox, have filed lawsuits to try to stop the recently enacted Healthcare Reform Act. These AG’s claim to acting in the interests of their citizens to “protect” them against waste, fraud, and so-called unconstitutional mandates by the federal government. Apparently in their desire to save taxpayers’ money, these same AG’s didn’t do their homework.
Paul J. O’Rourke at OpenSalon notes that the AG’s claim that:
“The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit states.
He then proceeds to give the AG’s a history lesson. It seems our founding fathers, people I presume knew something about the constitution (and the Fed Gov’s power has only gotten wider since) enacted a mandate on private persons for a healthcare insurance scheme back before 1800:
The history lesson
In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance.
This legislation also created America’s first payroll tax, as a ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay and forward those receipts to the service, which in turn provided injured sailors hospital care. Failure to pay or account properly was discouraged by requiring a law violating owner or ship’s captain to pay a 100 dollar fine.
This historical fact demolishes claims of “unprecedented” and “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty…”
Perhaps these somewhat incompetent attorneys general might wish to amend their lawsuits to conform to the 1798 precedent, and demand that the mandate and fines be linked to implementing a federal single payer healthcare insurance plan.
With conservatives on the Supreme Court that think corporations have been oppressed and denied the ability to “speak”, it’s always possible that strange things happen. But, frankly, I don’t see how these suits are anything but state Attorneys General wasting taxpayer money in order to promote their own political careers.
BTW: in case you don’t believe O’Rourke, try checking out WikiSource and read the law for yourself.