« | »

Kennedy: Health Care = Social Justice

Some excerpts from Mr. Kennedy’s latest plea from a tear-stained Newsweek:

‘The Cause of My Life’

Inside the fight for universal health care.

Edward M. Kennedy
From the magazine issue dated Jul 27, 2009

… Incremental measures won’t suffice anymore. We need to succeed where Teddy Roosevelt and all others since have failed. The conditions now are better than ever. In Barack Obama, we have a president who’s announced that he’s determined to sign a bill into law this fall. And much of the business community, which has suffered the economic cost of inaction, is helping to shape change, not lobbying against it. I know this because I’ve spent the past year, along with my staff, negotiating with business leaders, hospital administrators, and doctors. As soon as I left the hospital last summer, I was on the phone, and I’ve kept at it. Since the inauguration, the administration has been deeply involved in the process. So have my Senate colleagues—in particular Max Baucus, the chair of the Finance Committee, and my friend and partner in this mission, Chris Dodd. Even those most ardently opposed to reform in the past have been willing to make constructive gestures now.

To help finance a bill, the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to lower prices for seniors, not only saving them money for prescriptions but also saving the government tens of billions in Medicare payments over the next decade. Senator Baucus has agreed with hospitals on more than $100 billion in savings. We’re working with Republicans to make this a bipartisan effort. Everyone won’t be satisfied—and no one will get everything they want. But we need to come together, just as we’ve done in other great struggles—in World War II and the Cold War, in passing the great civil-rights laws of the 1960s, and in daring to send a man to the moon. If we don’t get every provision right, we can adjust and improve the program next year or in the years to come. What we can’t afford is to wait another generation.

I long ago learned that you have to be a realist as you pursue your ideals. But whatever the compromises, there are several elements that are essential to any health-reform plan worthy of the name.

First, we have to cover the uninsured. When President Clinton proposed his plan, 33 million Americans had no health insurance. Today the official number has reached 47 million, but the economic crisis will certainly push the total higher. Unless we act now, within a few years, 55 million Americans could be left without coverage even as the economy recovers.

All Americans should be required to have insurance. For those who can’t afford the premiums, we can provide subsidies. We’ll make it illegal to deny coverage due to preexisting conditions. We’ll also prohibit the practice of charging women higher premiums than men, and the elderly far higher premiums than anyone else. The bill drafted by the Senate health committee will let children be covered by their parents’ policy until the age of 26, since first jobs after high school or college often don’t offer health benefits.

To accomplish all of this, we have to cut the costs of health care. For families who’ve seen health-insurance premiums more than double—from an average of less than $6,000 a year to nearly $13,000 since 1999—one of the most controversial features of reform is one of the most vital. It’s been called the "public plan." Despite what its detractors allege, it’s not "socialism." It could take a number of different forms. Our bill favors a "community health-insurance option." In short, this means that the federal government would negotiate rates—in keeping with local economic conditions—for a plan that would be offered alongside private insurance options. This will foster competition in pricing and services. It will be a safety net, giving Americans a place to go when they can’t find or afford private insurance, and it’s critical to holding costs down for everyone.

We also need to move from a system that rewards doctors for the sheer volume of tests and treatments they prescribe to one that rewards quality and positive outcomes. For example, in Medicare today, 18 percent of patients discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 30 days—at a cost of more than $15 billion in 2005. Most of these readmissions are unnecessary, but we don’t reward hospitals and doctors for preventing them. By changing that, we’ll save billions of dollars while improving the quality of care for patients.

Social justice is often the best economics. We can help disabled Americans who want to live in their homes instead of a nursing home. Simple things can make all the difference, like having the money to install handrails or have someone stop by and help every day. It’s more humane and less costly—for the government and for families—than paying for institutionalized care. That’s why we should give all Americans a tax deduction to set aside a small portion of their earnings each month to provide for long-term care.

Another cardinal principle of reform: we have to make certain that people can keep the coverage they already have. Millions of employers already provide health insurance for their employees. We shouldn’t do anything to disturb this. On the contrary, we need to mandate employer responsibility: except for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, every company should have to cover its workers or pay into a system that will.

We need to prevent disease and not just cure it. (Today 80 percent of health spending pays for care for the 20 percent of Americans with chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.) Too many people get to the doctor too seldom or too late—or know too little about how to stay healthy. No one knows better than I do that when it comes to advanced, highly specialized treatments, America can boast the best health care in the world—at least for those who can afford it. But we still have to modernize a system that doesn’t always provide the basics.

I’ve heard the critics complain about the costs of change. I’m confident that at the end of the process, the change will be paid for—fairly, responsibly, and without adding to the federal deficit. It doesn’t make sense to negotiate in the pages of NEWSWEEK, but I will say that I’m open to many options, including a surtax on the wealthy, as long as it meets the principle laid down by President Obama: that there will be no tax increases on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. What I haven’t heard the critics discuss is the cost of inaction. If we don’t reform the system, if we leave things as they are, health-care inflation will cost far more over the next decade than health-care reform. We will pay far more for far less—with millions more Americans uninsured or underinsured.

This would threaten not just the health of Americans but also the strength of the American economy. Health-care spending already accounts for 17 percent of our entire domestic product. In other advanced nations, where the figure is around 10 percent, everyone has insurance and health outcomes that are equal or better than ours. This disparity undermines our ability to compete and succeed in the global economy. General Motors spends more per vehicle on health care than on steel.

We will bring health-care reform to the Senate and House floors soon, and there will be a vote. A century-long struggle will reach its climax. We’re almost there. In the meantime, I will continue what I’ve been doing—making calls, urging progress. I’ve had dinner twice recently at my home in Hyannis Port with Senator Dodd, and when President Obama called me during his Rome trip after meeting with the Pope, much of our discussion was about health care. I believe the bill will pass, and 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.

At another Democratic convention, in arguing for this cause, I spoke of the insurance coverage senators and members of Congress provide for themselves. That was 1980. In the last year, I’ve often relied on that Congressional insurance. My wife, Vicki, and I have worried about many things, but not whether we could afford my care and treatment. Each time I’ve made a phone call or held a meeting about the health bill—or even when I’ve had the opportunity to get out for a sail along the Massachusetts coast—I’ve thought in an even more powerful way than before about what this will mean to others. And I am resolved to see to it this year that we create a system to ensure that someday, when there is a cure for the disease I now have, no American who needs it will be denied it.

This story was written with Robert Shrum, Senator Kennedy’s friend and longtime speechwriter.

As was predicted, they are pulling out all the stops.

Even to have Mr. Kennedy talking about the need for “social justice” on the fortieth anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Kopeckne.

But if you remember only one thing about Mr. Kennedy, remember he is the same man who brought the nation ‘immigration reform,’ of the Immigration And Nationality Act Of 1965.

About his bill, Mr. Kennedy promised:

First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same….

Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset…. Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia….

In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think….

The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.

And look how that turned out.

Mr. Kennedy’s ‘immigration reform’ resulted in a flood of new immigration from non-European nations that changed forever the ethnic make-up of the United States.

The lesson is that Mr. Kennedy and the rest of the Democrats will promise anything to get their nation-changing legislation passed.

They seek to remake our country to suit their own fantasies, and they will say or do whatever it takes to get their way.

(Thanks to Melly for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 20th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Kennedy: Health Care = Social Justice”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    He killed a young woman 40 years ago and now he is going to kill us all!

    Hey Ted? The proctologist called and said your brain scan is back!!

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Isn’t a teddy a see through little nothing that whores wear to impress the rubes?

  3. proreason says:

    Would the mentally-challenged youngest son of an international criminal have been an even worse president than the mentally-challenged son of two communist America-haters?

    Tough call.

  4. catie says:

    These social justice Catholics like these fools make me ill. I wonder if that son of his would have enjoyed having gone into “managed care” when he had his cancer and he was prevented from seeking anything else no matter what his buffoonish, killer father could afford.
    Well, I hope he enjoys what time he has left on earth because I’m sure that Mary Jo will be there to “meet and greet” him on his way to hell.

    • caligirl9 says:

      There were “Kennedy family” specials all over television this weekend (anniversary of JFK, Jr. death) and for some reason I don’t turn them off.

      I am so damn sick of obscenely wealthy people like the Kennedys (the whole darn lot of ’em) crying “social justice for all.” Honestly, is there a Kennedy that has had to live on $300 a month (after rent) because his or her paycheck is slow in coming or nonexistent?

      Let THEM put their money where their mouths are. How about that family “adopt” a few hundred families in need of “social justice” and house, clothe, feed, and health care ’em. And I don’t mean create another “foundation” to benefit the “downtrodden”—so relatively little of their own money goes into those things anyway. Go find some families and put ’em in some of the houses at Hyannisport. Seems there’s plenty to go around.

      It’s easy to say that “we” should be taking care of others “less fortunate” but the Kennedys are better at it than most. Where is their family’s contribution? (And don’t do the “oh but look at all of the pain that family has suffered!” just like the television shows do. They could always afford to bury their dead.)

      One of those programs said that of all of the Kennedy brothers, Ted is the one who has made the most impact on history. Mary Jo’s family would probably agree.

      Yes, Catie, Teddy will rise to heaven from all of those prayers that his family and Kennedy family worshippers will say for him at the time of his death. But while he’s waiting in line like everyone else when he gets there, Mary Jo will be there to help process his paperwork and she will get to stamp “reject” on that file, and pull the trap door down to hell.

      I am gobsmacked that there were no consequences of that sin … had he been a conservative, he’d have been tried, convicted and still in jail. Which is what should have happened anyway.

  5. Confucius says:

    I’m beyond ill with these people. I don’t care about their causes. I don’t care about their dreams. I don’t care about their lifestories.

    Get off my back and leave me alone. Above all, spare me your conceit.

  6. pdsand says:

    “What we can’t afford is to wait another generation.”

    Well at least he was right about us not being able to afford this.

  7. pdsand says:

    “Another cardinal principle of reform: we have to make certain that people can keep the coverage they already have. Millions of employers already provide health insurance for their employees. We shouldn’t do anything to disturb this. On the contrary, we need to mandate employer responsibility: except for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, every company should have to cover its workers or pay into a system that will.”

    Of course they’ll never say so, but this is all just a battle in the pitched war against wal-mart.

  8. Melly says:

    (From The Hill)


    July 20, 2009

    McCain touts Mayo Clinic’s dismissal of House health proposal
    @ 2:18 pm by Jordan Fabian
    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to Twitter to echo the Mayo Clinic’s negative sentiments toward the House healthcare reform proposal.

    He tweeted Monday:

    Mayo Clinic lambastes House Healthcare bill – one of the most well respected health care providers in the US – THEY ARE RIGHT!


    McCain linked to a Briefing Room piece detailing the Minnesota-based health clinic’s statement on the legislation. Mayo said on its Health Policy Blog that the bill “misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients….In fact, it will do the opposite.”

    The Mayo Clinic’s statement came as the American Medical Association gave the House bill a high-profile boost last week. Three House committees are currently marking up the legislation.

    The Senate Doctors Show, which is a GOP-sponsored talk show on healthcare hosted by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), re-tweeted Mayo’s statement and the Briefing Room piece.

    • proreason says:

      And that was after the Moron had touted the Mayo Clinic as an example of how he wants to reform Health Care (which is an obvious lie, but even so, it’s deliciously ironic. As I seem to recall, the Mayo Clinic strives to keep people alive, as just one of the differences between the two approaches.).

  9. BillK says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun if someone somehow snuck in legislation mandating that moneys obtained from illegal sources was subject to a 100% inheritance tax?

    There would go the Kennedy fortune right there.

  10. artboyusa says:

    “Look Dad; here it is, my first great legislative achievement – the Immigration and Nationality Act of of 1965”! enthused young Ted.

    The excited Junior Senator shoved the document under the nose of his wheeelchair bound, brain damaged and paralyzed father.

    “Aaaaaarrrrr…” drooled the senescent Ambassador. “Nnnnrrrrrrr…”.

    “That’s what you always say!” pouted Ted. “Whatever I do, its never good enough for you! I thought this time it would be different and for once you’d say ‘good job, Ted’. Look Dad, my Bill guarantees a steady supply of cheap housemaids, pool boys and gardeners from south of the border for the convenience of rich white people like us. Housemaids, Dad – you like the housemaids, remember?”

    “Aaaarrr aaaarrr” agreed Old Joe, nodding and spitting enthusiastically (or maybe it was just another spasm – who could tell?)

    “And you know what else, Dad? It’ll help keep out anymore of, um, those people. It’ll be Mexicans galore from now on and ix-nay on the you-know-whos”.

    “Eeerrr?” queried the rum-running, backstabbing, Nazi loving, robber baron bastard.

    “You know, the ew-jays”.


    “The id-yays, the ike-kays, the ebie-hays, the osen-chay eople-pay!”


    “You know, the ones who secretly run the world! The ones who lie and manipulate and steal, who are driven by a remorseless lust for power and money, shameless, corrupt…”


    “No, not us! The ew-jays!”


« Front Page | To Top
« | »