January 20, 2011 3:57 pm ET - by Media Matters Action Network
Following up on an earlier post, Greg Sargent asked an expert how "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen" — which was signed by John Adams in 1798 — relates to the constitutional debate over the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate. According to Georgetown professor Adam Rothman, there are differences between the two laws, but the earlier bill is "a strong refutation of the basic principles that some Tea Party types offer," and the Framers "clearly thought that the national government had a role in subsidizing health care":
But Rothman says that it's perfectly legit to see shades of today's debate in that early initiative.
"It's a good example that the post-revolutionary generation clearly thought that the national government had a role in subsidizing health care," Rothman says. "That in itself is pretty remarkable and a strong refutation of the basic principles that some Tea Party types offer."
"You could argue that it's precedent for government run health care," Rothman continues. "This defies a lot of stereotypes about limited government in the early republic."
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