Opponents of the health care law claim the Founding Fathers thought a constitutional ban on purchase mandates was too “obvious” to mention. But in 1790, the first Congress—that included 20 framers of the constitution—passed a law requiring ship owners buy medical insurance for their seaman. In 1792, Congress required all able-bodied men to purchase firearms. The insurance ship owners provided their seaman covered drugs and physician services, but not hospital stays. In 1798, Congress enacted a federal law requiring seaman to buy their own hospital insurance. Challengers to the health care law argued that activity in the health care market is not enough to justify a purchase mandate. However, in 1790, shippers and seaman bought health insurance without showing they were active in any market for health insurance or health care.

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