Speed Reads

PharaohCare

Archaeologist discovers ancient Egyptians had a precursor to ObamaCare

Cue the cries of PharaohCare. An archaeologist from Stanford has found "the earliest documented governmental health-care plan" at an ancient Egyptian worksite called Deir el-Medina.

By examining the bones of workers who built tombs for the pharaohs, Anne Austin found "evidence for state-subsidized health care among these workers, but also significant occupational stress fueled by pressure from the state to work," she told Stanford Report. The workers had access to paid sick days and a free health clinic, she noted, but there was a cynical motive at work. The workers were given medicine like ostrich-egg-shell balms so they could quickly go back to building the pharaoh's tombs.

"The more I learn about Egypt, the more similar I think ancient Egyptian society is to modern American society," Austin said. "Things we consider creations of the modern condition, such as health care and labor strikes, are also visible so far in the past."