Thomas Jefferson and Government Run Health Care

Greg Sargent, today reports that it wasn’t only John Adams who supported the notion of government run health care. According to Georgetown University history professor and noted historian of America’s early days, Adam Rothman, Thomas Jefferson –the iconic hero of the Tea Party – also supported the legislation. Sargent reprints the following email he received from Prof. Rothan on the subject –

Alexander Hamilton supported the establishment of Marine Hospitals in a 1792 Report, and it was a Federalist congress that passed the law in 1798. But Jefferson (Hamilton’s strict constructionist nemesis) also supported federal marine hospitals, and along with his own Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, took steps to improve them during his presidency. So I guess you could say it had bipartisan support.

Ezra Klein adds to the debate pointing out that:

…it was a payroll tax that all sailors on private merchant ships had to pay, and in return, they were basically given access to a small public health-care system. But it was, in essence, a regulation against a form of inactivity: You were not allowed to not do something, in this case, pay for sailor’s health insurance.

From Thomas Jefferson Believed the Federal Government Could Regulate “Inactivity” – Grasping Reality with Eight Tentacles

I don’t think this proves Jefferson would have approved of Obamacare. It does prove the futility tinged with intellectuality dishonesty that the Tea Party folks demonstrate when they claim to speak for the founders. From beyond the grave no less.