Marine Hospital Service

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The Marine Hospital Service was an organization of hospitals dedicated to the care of ill and disabled seamen in the U.S. Merchant Marine, U.S. Coast Guard, and others. The Service was created by an act of the 5th Congress and signed into law on 16 July 1798 by President John Adams. The Marine Hospital Service was the point of origin for the Public Health Service.

The government funded the hospitals by a tax on sailors’ monthly wages.

Socialized medicine and mandatory health insurance in 1798.

The merchant seamen were essential to the early economy, and their job was dangerous. Realizing a healthy workforce was essential for our private merchant fleet to engage in foreign trade, the Congress acted. They created “An Act for The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen”.

There are some differences between then and now. The act did not mandate that sailors obtain any form of private insurance. It was a federal government run health insurance program, a public-option for sailors. The private insurance companies in 1798 hadn’t discovered lobbyists, that would come later.

H/T: Common-Place, Greg Sargent, Forbes.

92 thoughts on “Marine Hospital Service”

  1. I read that article and found it interesting, but I still think the reason it works is that Norway is a small country, has a homogeneous population and a large amount of oil money.

    The oil industry being the source of wealth for the entire country. If you removed the oil industry Norway could in no way sustain their way of life as described in that article. Nor could they if they had open immigration policies that allowed anyone to enter their country and receive “free” services.

    Most people in Norway work, there is a huge entitlement class here in the states which sucks up our money like a vacuum cleaner. More is at work in Norway than socialism. You are a big one for cause and effect but socialism is not the cause of Norway’s prosperity, oil is.

  2. BIL: OMG, we are using “vitriol and force” instead of logic in argument. Chan L and Tootie have no idea. When I consult with lawyers on preparing a cross examination of a witness, my philosophy is borrowed directly from General William T. Sherman. Nothing like leaving only scorched earth in your wake, is there? I so look forward to seeing those two undergo a rigorous defense of their notions one of these days.

    Now, I am out of here. I have to go help a lawyer work on the cross examination of an “expert” who is about to find out he does not know it all after all. I will be tied up for the rest of the day, and in the meantime, I will try to keep my ‘vitriol and force’ under control. On second thought; Nah, I am gonna let it go, unbridled.

  3. I’m old enough not to feel the need to distort terminology in feeble attempts to self-rationalize being a greedy lil’ clown.

  4. Buddha:

    you are a poor soul, Norway has huge amounts of Oil money that enable it to be socialistic. Much like Saudi Arabia except without the despotism.

    They also have only 4.9 million people.

    Keep dreaming the dream. Maybe you should invest in another “private law school” education, only this time from a reputable non-degree mill school.

    Ooh, that club you hit me with; what was it made from? Foam rubber or feathers, I cant decide which one. The “shock” of it has me laughing my ass off.

    dude, aren’t you older than 30? Shouldn’t that dream of socialism have died a while ago and been replaced with reality? Do you suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome?

  5. What’s farcical is that you think what you are getting at Hillsdale is actually an education. And as long as you use language, you will continue to distort it. Here. I’ll just club you on the head with your stupidity once again by giving a real life example of democratic socialism that not only retains the capitalist mode of production, but is flourishing.

    Seriously, I encourage you to attend one semester at another school, Chan. Just so you can see what happens when you make up faulty definitions to suite your faulty premises in a real academic environment. It’s something you had better get used to in your life. It’s called “failure”.

  6. how does democratic socialism retain the capitalist mode of production? That is a farsical statement at best.

    I think we can call it an anti-concept:

    “Observe the technique involved . . . . It consists of creating an artificial, unnecessary, and (rationally) unusable term, designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concepts—a term which sounds like a concept, but stands for a “package-deal” of disparate, incongruous, contradictory elements taken out of any logical conceptual order or context, a “package-deal” whose (approximately) defining characteristic is always a non-essential. This last is the essence of the trick.

    Let me remind you that the purpose of a definition is to distinguish the things subsumed under a single concept from all other things in existence; and, therefore, their defining characteristic must always be that essential characteristic which distinguishes them from everything else.

    So long as men use language, that is the way they will use it. There is no other way to communicate. And if a man accepts a term with a definition by non-essentials, his mind will substitute for it the essential characteristic of the objects he is trying to designate . . . . Thus the real meaning of the term will automatically replace the alleged meaning.”

  7. OS,

    Those examples being the corrections of course.

    Pardon. Very little sleep.

  8. OS,

    In the immortal words of Lynryd Skynryd, “You sure got that right.” However, that does not negate the duty to correct blatant untruths. Like that socialism is a spectrum of political behaviors and democratic socialism retains the capitalist mode of production and that “God is love” contradicts religious rationalized bigotry.

  9. Tootie:

    yes, the central banking system has been working against the free market since it’s inception. The fact that De Soto showed examples of past failures of central banking just underlines my contention that Buddha and his gang are the ones that adhere to the mantra of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    They get the same results in different countries and different epochs and they still keep trying, lamely hoping that this time they will get it right. They wont and it is time to give up on the vision of universal prosperity and a chicken in every pot facilitated by government. The only facilitator of prosperity and wealth creating are free markets and free people.

    I am beginning to think the days of the looters are numbered. People are finally starting to see the abject failure that is socialism/Marxism. At least the honest and decent people are, The ones who actually believe in private property and our Constitution.

  10. The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights; under socialism, the right to property (which is the right of use and disposal) is vested in “society as a whole,” i.e., in the collective, with production and distribution controlled by the state, i.e., by the government.

    “Socialism may be established by force, as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—or by vote, as in Nazi (National Socialist) Germany. The degree of socialization may be total, as in Russia—or partial, as in England. Theoretically, the differences are superficial; practically, they are only a matter of time. The basic principle, in all cases, is the same.

    The alleged goals of socialism were: the abolition of poverty, the achievement of general prosperity, progress, peace and human brotherhood. The results have been a terrifying failure—terrifying, that is, if one’s motive is men’s welfare.

    Instead of prosperity, socialism has brought economic paralysis and/or collapse to every country that tried it. The degree of socialization has been the degree of disaster. The consequences have varied accordingly.”

  11. Otteray Scribe:

    how do you know your “logic” is correct? Show me a logical argument for statism and I will become a Marxist today. You cannot because Marxism/socialism is not logical and goes against the very nature of man.

    Any system that would punish success is not a good or logical system. I have years of empirical evidence that it does not work, it does not create prosperity no matter how much you may want it to. It doesnt allow people to rise, appeals to the lowest common denominator among men and kills ambition and innovation.

    I also find it interesting that you and Buddha resort to the one thing so typical of totalitarian societies, namely calling those with whom you disagree insane. How quaint and how typical of those who would use force to make someone accept their ideas. That fact alone tells me “logic” has nothing to do with it.

    You and Buddha know the truth deep down, namely that Marxism/socialism doesn’t work and you must use vitriol and force to support your position. I suppose in some twisted way that is “logical” in the Never Never Land of socialism.

  12. BIL: Chan L is right about one thing. Chan L observed: “I don’t keep wanting to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.”

    Those of us who keep trying to reason with Chan L and Tootie keep hoping to break through their logic-proof mindset and expecting different results are never going to succeed.

  13. BIL:

    I said you believed the same things Democrats believe. And you do. Exactly.

    The GOPers and I disagree on most of the important Constitutional issues. Still, you cannot see how you are more of a partisan than I am?

    That you think I might be convinced you are right about the Constitution because corrupt students of the law at this blog agree with your version of of it, only goes to show how much of the kool aid you have swallowed.

    I’m going to the most important authorities for information about what the Constitution means: the founders and framers. While you are going to hopelessly biased ideologues who lie and deceive about the Constitution. They cram their immoral and corrupt world-view into it and then pretend it is “living” when clearly they slayed it by dismembering it.

  14. Chan L

    It’s an excellent summary of the best ideas from the Austrian school and I will bookmark it as it applies them to the current crisis.

    It really appears to be all about fractional reserves (bad idea), savings as being the true measure of wealth (we Americans have little of that), and the criminality of fiat money (a lack of “honest” money) as Ron Paul calls it.

    Thank you for bringing it to my attention. The new thing I learned from the essay is that our BANKING system is more socialist than I realized. I just never thought about it in those terms.


  15. Insanity has many definitions. One would be blaming every problem on something not causally connected to the problem proper. Like your assertion that Marxist (which is still not the same thing as socialist, speaking of repeating false equivalencies) are the cause of water pollution. As to it being a foreign problem? The New York Times has a continuing series focusing on the worsening pollution of US water and waterways called Toxic Waters. You’ll particularly hate the segments titled “Pollution Grows With Little Fear of Punishment” and “Millions in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water, Records Show”.

  16. Insane? Nope, not hardly. I don’t keep wanting to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I think your boys do that.

  17. that bad stuff in the water is in the developing and poor countries for the most part. Read socialist/marxist economies. Case closed, get rid of marxist/socialist economies and you will have all the clean water you need and a very cheap price due to competition.

    I might add competition from greedy men and women who want to sell the best water at the cheapest price. Greed is good for human beings. Selflessness kills people.

    Did you read that essay/speech I posted for Tootie?

  18. You’re simply insane, Chan.

    Unregulated industrial dumping, agricultural runoff and untreated/undertreated sewage are the biggest water polluters in the world.

    But you run with that “the Marxists are poisoning the water” thing if you want to, unicycle boy.

    Anything that makes you look more foolish than you already do just makes me giggle.


    what will cure the world water crisis is the elimination of socialist economies thereby allowing for the creation of wealth in poor and developing countries. Poof problem gone.

    Marxism/socialism is the cause of the water crises. Get rid of those economic systems and you have all the water you need.

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