Category Archives: heath care reform

Pallone: One Million Additional Young Adults Have Health Coverage Because of the Affordable Care Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. Wednesday announced that new data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the Affordable Care Act has helped one million additional young adults to get health insurance.

“The Affordable Care Act is already improving the lives of America’s families, including one million young people who now enjoy health coverage,” Pallone said. “Young adults 18-25 are most likely to go without health insurance, putting them one emergency room visit away from thousands of dollars in medical bills that would burden them for years to come.”

Specifically, data from the National Health Interview Survey shows that in the first quarter of 2011, the percentage of adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance increased by 3.5 percentage points, representing approximately 1 million additional young adults with insurance coverage compared to a year ago.

The Affordable Care Act allows most young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until their 26th birthday.

The results from the CDC were also confirmed by a Gallup survey released today. As Gallup concluded, “The provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ plans appears to be having an immediate effect on the number of Americans who report they have health insurance. Since it went into effect in September 2010, the percentage of 18- to 25-year-olds who report being uninsured has significantly declined by four percentage points.”

The under 26 provision is included in the Patient’s Bill of Rights and in addition to covering young people provides other significant patient protections including prohibiting insurers from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, placing lifetime limits on coverage, and denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. All of these reforms are already helping Americans today and must be maintained.

Last week Pallone decried Republican efforts to repeal the Patient’s Bill of Rights.

“This is one of many examples of how health care reform is working for New Jerseyans. Without the Affordable Care Act, thousands of young people in New Jersey would go without health insurance. Their health is too valuable for me to allow them to lose the consumer protections they now enjoy.”

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, Gallup poll, heath care reform, Patient Bill of Rights, press release, The Affordable Care Act, young adults

>Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798

>By now everyone must know that the Republicans in Congress voted to repeal the health care law by a vote of 245-189, mostly along party lines (3 Dems defected and voted for repeal).

The reasons given for this push for repeal are many, from being to costly and a jobs killer to being unconstitutional and not what the founding fathers of our country would have intended when they drafted the Constitution.

While many of the reasons for repealing the health care law may or may not have a modicum of truth behind them, the one reason that does not is addressed in a blog entry by Rick Unger of Forbes.com, who found that our founding fathers in the 5th Congress did believe in the benefits of health care and mandated that governmental marine hospitals be constructed and funded by privately employed sailors who would be require to purchase health care insurance.
The law was signed by then President John Adams.


The ink was barely dry on the PPACA when the first of many lawsuits to block the mandated health insurance provisions of the law was filed in a Florida District Court.

The pleadings, in part, read –

The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage.

State of Florida, et al. vs. HHS

It turns out, the Founding Fathers would beg to disagree.

In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed – “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.

Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution.

And when the Bill came to the desk of President John Adams for signature, I think it’s safe to assume that the man in that chair had a pretty good grasp on what the framers had in mind.

Here’s how it happened.

During the early years of our union, the nation’s leaders realized that foreign trade would be essential to the young country’s ability to create a viable economy. To make it work, they relied on the nation’s private merchant ships – and the sailors that made them go – to be the instruments of this trade.

The problem was that a merchant mariner’s job was a difficult and dangerous undertaking in those days. Sailors were constantly hurting themselves, picking up weird tropical diseases, etc.

The troublesome reductions in manpower caused by back strains, twisted ankles and strange diseases often left a ship’s captain without enough sailors to get underway – a problem both bad for business and a strain on the nation’s economy.

But those were the days when members of Congress still used their collective heads to solve problems – not create them.

Realizing that a healthy maritime workforce was essential to the ability of our private merchant ships to engage in foreign trade, Congress and the President resolved to do something about it.

Enter “An Act for The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen”.

I encourage you to read the law as, in those days, legislation was short, to the point and fairly easy to understand.

The law did a number of fascinating things.

First, it created the Marine Hospital Service, a series of hospitals built and operated by the federal government to treat injured and ailing privately employed sailors. This government provided healthcare service was to be paid for by a mandatory tax on the maritime sailors (a little more than 1% of a sailor’s wages), the same to be withheld from a sailor’s pay and turned over to the government by the ship’s owner. The payment of this tax for health care was not optional. If a sailor wanted to work, he had to pay up.

This is pretty much how it works today in the European nations that conduct socialized medical programs for its citizens – although 1% of wages doesn’t quite cut it any longer.

The law was not only the first time the United States created a socialized medical program (The Marine Hospital Service) but was also the first to mandate that privately employed citizens be legally required to make payments to pay for health care services. Upon passage of the law, ships were no longer permitted to sail in and out of our ports if the health care tax had not been collected by the ship owners and paid over to the government – thus the creation of the first payroll tax in our nation’s history.

When a sick or injured sailor needed medical assistance, the government would confirm that his payments had been collected and turned over by his employer and would then give the sailor a voucher entitling him to admission to the hospital where he would be treated for whatever ailed him.

While a few of the healthcare facilities accepting the government voucher were privately operated, the majority of the treatment was given out at the federal maritime hospitals that were built and operated by the government in the nation’s largest ports.

As the nation grew and expanded, the system was also expanded to cover sailors working the private vessels sailing the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

The program eventually became the Public Health Service, a government operated health service that exists to this day under the supervision of the Surgeon General.

So much for the claim that “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty….”

As for Congress’ understanding of the limits of the Constitution at the time the Act was passed, it is worth noting that Thomas Jefferson was the President of the Senate during the 5th Congress while Jonathan Dayton, the youngest man to sign the United States Constitution, was the Speaker of the House.

While I’m sure a number of readers are scratching their heads in the effort to find the distinction between the circumstances of 1798 and today, I think you’ll find it difficult.

Yes, the law at that time required only merchant sailors to purchase health care coverage. Thus, one could argue that nobody was forcing anyone to become a merchant sailor and, therefore, they were not required to purchase health care coverage unless they chose to pursue a career at sea.

However, this is no different than what we are looking at today.

Each of us has the option to turn down employment that would require us to purchase private health insurance under the health care reform law.

Would that be practical? Of course not – just as it would have been impractical for a man seeking employment as a merchant sailor in 1798 to turn down a job on a ship because he would be required by law to purchase health care coverage.

What’s more, a constitutional challenge to the legality of mandated health care cannot exist based on the number of people who are required to purchase the coverage – it must necessarily be based on whether any American can be so required.

Clearly, the nation’s founders serving in the 5th Congress, and there were many of them, believed that mandated health insurance coverage was permitted within the limits established by our Constitution.

The moral to the story is that the political right-wing has to stop pretending they have the blessings of the Founding Fathers as their excuse to oppose whatever this president has to offer.

History makes it abundantly clear that they do not.

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Filed under Forbes.com, founding fathers, heath care reform, John Adams, Rick Unger, socialized medicine