Kennedy: Why I Fight for Health Reform

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2009 2:05 PM CDT
In this March 31, 2009 file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., listens to remarks on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – From his near-death in a 1964 plane crash to his children’s health battles to the brain tumor threatening his life, Ted Kennedy’s medical struggles have taught him that “quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face.” That’s why he’s spent his entire political life fighting for health care reform, the senator writes in Newsweek.

In 1970, Kennedy picked up the torch of universal coverage, but the Nixon and Carter presidencies swept it aside. “We need to succeed where Teddy Roosevelt and all others since have failed,” Kennedy writes—and “conditions now are better than ever.” If health reform includes the government-insurance option and some other necessary changes,
Kennedy writes, “we will end the disgrace of America as the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn't guarantee health care for all of its people.”