President John Adams signed a health insurance mandate into law in 1798

I thought this interesting.

I’m pretty out of it on pain pills for the infected tooth that I have to have a root canal done on in a week or so.  I’ll be off and on the blog today but I’ll mostly be sleeping.

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 health care 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.

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6 Responses to President John Adams signed a health insurance mandate into law in 1798

  1. timesr says:

    Darn those founding fathers and their unconstitutional ways.

  2. AliSilver says:

    Is Seamen, a term for navy/military personnel or fishermen and other jobs at sea?

    Sage Reply:

    I don’t get the impression that it is military since it calls for fines of the ship’s captain. Navy/Military captains wouldn’t be paying a fine in my opinion.

    timesr Reply:

    @AliSilver, “Is Seamen, a term for navy/military personnel or fishermen and other jobs at sea?”

    Good question. I am not sure the term “seamen” applies to fishermen in this act.

    From the Act”

    “SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the officers, seamen and marines of the navy of the United States, shall be entitled to receive the same benefits and advantages, as by the act above mentioned are provided for the relief of the sick and disabled seamen of the merchant vessels of the United States.”

    The Jones Act expanded the definition of Seamen.

    From the 1800 Jones Act (passed in 1920):

    “The term seaman, as used in the Jones Act, is intended to be taken in its broadest scope, having a much broader definition than is traditionally associated with the word “seaman”. A Seaman is intended to include any person that furthers the mission of a vessel while assigned to that vessel or to a fleet of vessels under common ownership.

    Even though the Jones Act is a law of the United States, a Jones Act seaman does not need to be serving on an American ship to make a claim. Anyone whose duties are maritime in nature, and who performs those duties on a vessel, or in commerce, and in navigable waters, is classified as a seaman under the Jones Act. This can be applicable even if the individual is not onboard a vessel at the time of injury. Employees serving onboard restaurant boats, tankers, freighters, jack-up rigs, semi-submersibles, towboats, tugboats, supply boats, barges, special purpose vessels, fishing vessels, casino boats, and others. Even workers assigned to boats moored in port can be classified as Seamen under the Jones Act, as long as the boat is in navigation during hours of operation.”

  3. Wizcon says:

    This as good as realizing the precedence for asking race on the census was set with the first census in 1790. There weren’t as many known races to ask about but it was there.

    Sage Reply:

    You are correct and that’s a good point.

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