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What Does Benjamin Franklin Have to Do With Obamacare? - Svati Kirsten Narula - The Atlantic

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“What would the Founding Fathers say about Obamacare?” is a question that, for better or worse, seems to provide endless fodder for debate.

Back in 2010, as part of a much longer essay for GQ about the political ramifications of Obamacare, John Jeremiah Sullivan unearthed a possible clue to at least one of the founders’ positions on the matter.

In 1751, Pennsylvania statesman Benjamin Franklin (“the uber-Founding Father”) conspired with Philadelphia surgeon Thomas Bond to found the nation’s first public hospital, envisioning that it would provide free health care to the city’s “sick-poor” and even “diseased foreigners.” The colony’s taxpayers would foot the bill, but it would be to their benefit in the long run because making city-dwellers healthier could reduce poverty and prevent epidemics, and doctors could put experience gained in an urban hospital setting to use treating rural patients. Bond had seen the concept in action in Europe, where he had completed his medical training, and he convinced Franklin that it could work as well in Pennsylvania. 

Mind you, that was before health insurance existed.

Because Obamacare only seems to exist in reaction to the health insurance system: "The core drivers of the health care act are market principles formulated by conservative economists, designed to correct structural flaws in our health insurance system..."


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