Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798
(Signed by damned socialist President John Adams.)
CHAP. [94.] An act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen.
§ 1. Be it enacted, Sfc.That from and after the first day of September next, the master or ownerof every ship or vessel of the United States, arriving from a foreign port into any port of theUnited States, shall, before such ship or vessel shall be admitted to an entry, render to thecollector a true account of the number of seamen that shall have been employed on board suchvessel since she was last entered at any port in the United States, and shall pay, to the saidcollector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every seaman so employed ; which sum he ishereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.
§ 2. That from and after the first day of September next, no collector shall grant to any ship orvessel whose enrollment or license for carrying on the coasting trade has expired, a newenrollment or license, before the master of such ship or vessel shall first render a true account tothe collector, of the number of seamen, and the time they have severally been employed on boardsuch ship or vessel, during the continuance of the license which has so expired, and pay to suchcollector twenty cents per month for every month such seamen have been severally employed asaforesaid ; which sum the said master is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of suchseamen. And if any such master shall render a false account of the number of men, and the lengthof time they have severally been employed, as is herein required, he shall forfeit and pay onehundred dollars.
§ 3. That it shall be the duty of the several collectors to make a quarterly return of the sumscollected by them, respectively, by virtue of this act, to the secretary of the treasury ; and thepresident of the United States is hereby authorized, out of the same, to provide for the temporaryrelief and maintenance of sick, or disabled seamen, in the hospitals or other proper institutionsnow established in the several ports of the United States, or in ports where no such institutionsexist, then in such other manner as he shall direct:Provided,that the moneys collected in anyone district, shall be expended within the same.
§4. That if any surplus shall remain of the moneys to be collected by virtue of this act, afterdefraying the expense of such temporary relief and support, that the same, together with suchprivate donations as may be made for that purpose, (which the president is hereby authorized toreceive,) shall be invested in the stock of the United States, under the direction of the president;and when, in his opinion, a sufficient fund shall be accumulated, he is hereby authorized topurchase or receive cessions or donations of ground or buildings, in the name of the UnitedStates, and to cause buildings, when necessary, to be erected as hospitals for the accommodationof sick and disabled seamen.
§ 5. That the president of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to nominate andappoint, in such ports of the United States as he may think proper, one or more persons, to becalled directors of the marine hospital of the United States, whose duty it shall be to direct theexpenditure of the fund assigned for their respective ports, according to the third section of thisact; to provide for the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen, under such instructions as shall be given by the president of the United States for that purpose, and also,subject to the like general instructions, to direct and govern such hospitals, as the president maydirect to be built in the respective ports : and that the said directors shall hold their offices duringthe pleasure of the president, who is authorized to fill up all vacancies that may be occasioned bythe death or removal of any of the persons so to be appointed. And the said directors shall renderan account of the moneys received and expended by them, once in every quarter of a year, to thesecretary of the treasury, or such other person as the president shall direct; but no otherallowance or compensation shall be made to the said directors, except the payment of suchexpenses as they may incur in the actual discharge of the duties required by this act.
[Approved, July 16, 1798.]
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.