Our Founders realized that a healthy work force was essential to our economic health and growth. It was for this reason that, in July of 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law an act “For the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” establishing the Marine Hospital Service.
This Federal government socialized healthcare insurance was funded by a tax that was withheld from the sailor’s pay, and then turned over to the government by the ship’s owner. This first payroll tax amounted to slightly over 1% of the sailor’s wages. An injured or sick sailor would make a claim, his record of payments would be confirmed, and he would be given a “chit” for admission to the local hospital. Some of these healthcare facilities were private, but in the larger ports Federal maritime hospitals were built.
A year later, in 1799, the hospitals were opened to members of our Navy, until its own were established. (In 1936 the Merchant Marines were declared an auxiliary of the Navy during times of war and emergency, until then, they were always private employees.)
As America grew, this system was expanded to the inland ports along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and others. It eventually became our Public Health Service, led by the Surgeon General.
So suck it, Beck.