Kennedy: Fix Health Care Now

Don't let economic crisis blind us to broken system
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 9, 2008 9:16 AM CST
Barack Obama stands with Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally for Obama at American University on Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, in Washington.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – The economy may be gasping, but that doesn’t give us a prescription to neglect health care, Ted Kennedy writes. “We must forge ahead with this urgent priority. The system is broken,” he writes in a Washington Post op-ed. The liberal lion points to recent signs that reform is possible: Congress passed legislation last month that guarantees insurers treat mental illnesses like physical ones, and Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts vastly expanded state coverage in 2006.

Kennedy knows opponents will decry Barack Obama's plan as “socialized health care,” but dismisses the notion that this economic climate isn't the time for reform. "The rising cost of health care is clearly contributing to the troubled economy and needlessly strains family pocketbooks," Kennedy writes. "These costs are expected to climb, more than doubling in the next 10 years. We can no longer afford not to act. The cost will be substantial, but the need for reform is too great to be deflected or delayed."