Earlier this week, CNN hosted a debate between Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and “Bernie” Bernard Sanders (D-VT). There was one topic: ObamaCare. While Cruz presented free market principles, Sanders continued his march towards single-payer socialized government controlled health care.
At one point, Sanders asked Cruz if he believed health care was a right. Cruz, in perfect Constitutionalist fashion, referred to the Bill of Rights. He reminded Sanders our founders were more interested in limiting what our government could do to us than what they should do for us. Cruz continued, saying it is the government’s job to remove the obstacles preventing people access to care. For we have a right to access health care, not a entitled right to health care.
Our founders never expected, or wanted, the government involved in providing health care. Benjamin Franklin’s actions prove it.
In 1751, Philadelphia was the fastest growing city in the 13 colonies. Inventors and innovative thinkers like Franklin flooded the city. Also streaming into the area was an increasing number of poor who were physically ill. A growing number of mentally ill came from all levels of society.
Leading physician Dr. Thomas Bond witnessed Europe’s development of the hospital while there a decade earlier. As Port Inspector for Contagious Diseases, Bond saw the city’s rising problem first hand. More and more sick were entering with no means to treat them. Looking back at his time in Europe, he decided to build a hospital in Philadelphia “for the reception and cure of the sick poor…free of charge.” While floating his idea among the citizens, they all wanted to know the same thing, “What does Benjamin Franklin think of the idea?” Thinking Franklin focused on other interests, Bond hadn’t asked yet. When he did finally ask, Franklin immediately endorsed it. That was all the community needed to hear to put their support behind the hospital as well.
The project would be a private entity, sponsored by private individuals. However, the Pennsylvania Assembly still needed to approve it. Franklin quickly proposed a bill. It explained the focus of the hospital as “to care for the sick poor of the Province and for the reception and care of lunaticks (sic).” The Assembly was not impressed. Still believing in the hospital, Franklin asked if they would sign the bill if he could raise 2000 pounds for the project. As a bonus, if he succeeded, they would match the funds. The Assembly agreed believing Franklin would not deliver. They were wrong. They signed the bill on May 11, 1751.
Bond, and other Quakers, took the lead in this project. While a permanent structure was built, temporary facilities were set up in the home of the late John Kinsey. Kinsey, a fellow Quaker, was the former Speaker of the Assembly and died in 1750. Another Quaker, widow Elizabeth Gardner, was appointed matron of the new hospital.
Dr. Bond and Franklin opened the doors to the first American hospital on February 11, 1752. In compassionate, American fashion, citizens took it upon themselves to solve a growing problem in their city. The Stretch Family and Franklin donated their own money to start and sustain the hospital. Mathias Kaplan donated the first piece of land. Franklin approached the Pennsylvania Assembly , not for their help, but for their permission. And even then the Assembly tried to prevent the important, lifesaving project from moving forward instead of getting out of the way.
The Good Samaritan story guided the hospital’s principles. They emphasized this in their seal, which includes the inscription “Take care of him and I will repay thee.” They believed citizens, not the government, should take care of their neighbors.
However, care was still not automatically given to the poor. They were not “entitled” to it, as Sanders believes. Strict rules and requirements were set by the primarily Quaker-run Board of Managers, which included Franklin, so expenses did not become a burden to the city. As a result, a patient needed two tax-paying sponsors to be admitted. Local philanthropists, predominant townsmen and other leaders committed to these funds, as well as members of the Board and the hospital staff. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, completely lived up to its name.
As an atheist, Sanders misses the basis “Good Samaritan” principle . He wants government to be our god and our Samaritan. But governments are never our brothers. They always demand to become our masters.
Once admitted, patients had to abide by firm rules to prevent capable patients from taking advantage. Those that were able to work had to. The hospital wanted to be a helping hand up, not a crippling hand out. The rules also presented the patients with opportunities to contribute. This allowed them to preserve their self-respect and honor while under the full care of others.
The Pennsylvania Hospital continued making history and advancing care over the years. It has been a teaching hospital, provided care in local and foreign wars, advanced treatments in several medical disciplines and excelled in medicine. Now part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Pennsylvania Hospital continues to stand out in health care and medical advances.
It is obvious that Cruz understands America’s founding and Sanders does not. It is not the government’s job to provide health care, set a minimum wage, ensure gender equality, fight for women’s rights, create jobs, or redistribute wealth. The ineptitude of the Department of Veterans Affairs alone proves the government cannot run health care, let alone any other social program.
If Sanders is that committed to providing free health care, I suggest he follow Franklin’s lead. Sanders should sell one or more of his three homes and give the money to a private hospital to care for the sick. Or better yet, he could open his homes to the sick as free medical clinics.
The founders of our country did not just want freedom from King George III, they wanted freedom from government, period. But today’s politicians want and need people depending on them and not their neighbors. If citizens relay on each other, politicians have no power. And there goes Sanders’ fortune.
Of course Sanders wants the government to control everything. He didn’t earn a paycheck until he was 40. And even then it was from the government.
Sanders is exactly what our founders were warning and protecting us against when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Elitists like Sanders honestly believe they are superior and therefore deserve to control the rest of us.
Now that he has become a millionaire off the backs of taxpayers, Sanders believes he has the right to control those taxpayers. That is not freedom, or even compassion. That is the true definition of slavery.
But that’s just my 2 cents.