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Harry Reid Trots Out Ted Kennedy’s Ghost

From the Prescriptions blog of the New York Times:

A Call From Senator Kennedy’s Widow

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

November 21, 2009

Moments after the vote to begin debate on the major health care legislation, a reporter asked the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, if he had spoken with President Obama.

“I was pretty well focused on getting the votes,” Mr. Reid said with a smile. “I took all senators’ calls but no one else’s.”

But there was someone else: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose life’s work in the Senate was largely dedicated to the issue of health care.

Mr. Reid first mentioned the call in an aside to Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and one of Mr. Kennedy’s closest friends in the Senate, as they stood at a news conference after the vote. While Mr. Kennedy was battling cancer, Mr. Dodd stepped in as acting chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and helped shepherd the health care bill through a committee vote in July.

“She believes that Ted was watching,” Mr. Reid told Mr. Dodd.

Asked about the call, Mr. Reid said that Mrs. Kennedy had telephoned him in the Democratic cloakroom just after the 60 to 39 vote, which allows debate to begin on the Senate’s health care legislation.

“She called right after the vote,” Mr. Reid said. “I’ll remember the call always. She of course was crying pretty hard. We both felt that he’s watching us tonight.”

This is from the New York Times blog, Prescription, which uses the sub-title: “Making Sense Of The Health Care Debate.”

Which would imply some kind of rational thinking.

But, no, the Senate is supposed to pass this terrible legislation because “Ted Kennedy is watching.”

(Note that they didn’t say whether he was looking down or up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, November 23rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Harry Reid Trots Out Ted Kennedy’s Ghost”

  1. proreason says:

    In those extremely rare moments when I begin to think a libwit argument for Universal Health Care might make a little bit of sense, I remind myself.

    Ted Kennedy was for it.

  2. Paulajay says:

    I hope Teddy is “watching” on January 19th when Massachusetts elects his replacement. With any luck, he’ll be rolling over in his grave. If independent voters that are fleeing Obama in droves will show up at the polls, there’s a very good chance that Republican Scott Brown will win. More than 50% of Massachusetts voters are independent or un-enrolled. And even in this state, people are starting to come out of their 46 year long “Kennedy coma”.

  3. GL0120 says:

    WTF does it matter if Ted’s watching; no one in congress is stupid enough to allow themselves to be covered by this disaster!

  4. catie says:

    He’s watching from Hell.

  5. Liberals Demise says:

    “Put another log on the fire Ted.”

    There’s the answer to that question!

  6. wirenut says:

    Uncle Ted is watching alright, with a really big pair of scotch goggles. Kennedy and Reid are all wet. Literally and figuratively. Kennedy and his clan have done enough to send people into hospitals and morgues. Ted is a bad example.

  7. retiredairforce says:

    How did her call get thru? What happened to the switchboard overload? Sounds fishy to me.

  8. ptat says:

    “Ted is watching.” “This bill will free Americans from fear of illness and death.” This man is insane and powerful.

  9. U NO HOO says:

    http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/thomasson.insurance.health.us

    “Growth in Demand: Government Policies that Encouraged Health Insurance

    Offering insurance policies to employee groups not only benefited insurers, but also benefited employers. During World War II, wage and price controls prevented employers from using wages to compete for scarce labor. Under the 1942 Stabilization Act, Congress limited the wage increases that could be offered by firms, but permitted the adoption of employee insurance plans. In this way, health benefit packages offered one means of securing workers. In the 1940s, two major rulings also reinforced the foundation of the employer-provided health insurance system. First, in 1945 the War Labor Board ruled that employers could not modify or cancel group insurance plans during the contract period. Then, in 1949, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in a dispute between the Inland Steel Co. and the United Steelworkers Union that the term “wages” included pension and insurance benefits. Therefore, when negotiating for wages, the union was allowed to negotiate benefit packages on behalf of workers as well. This ruling, affirmed later by the U.S. Supreme Court, further reinforced the employment-based system.5

    Perhaps the most influential aspect of government intervention that shaped the employer-based system of health insurance was the tax treatment of employer-provided contributions to employee health insurance plans. First, employers did not have to pay payroll tax on their contributions to employee health plans. Further, under certain circumstances, employees did not have to pay income tax on their employer’s contributions to their health insurance plans. The first such exclusion occurred under an administrative ruling handed down in 1943 which stated that payments made by the employer directly to commercial insurance companies for group medical and hospitalization premiums of employees were not taxable as employee income (Yale Law Journal, 1954, pp. 222-247). While this particular ruling was highly restrictive and limited in its applicability, it was codified and extended in 1954. Under the 1954 Internal Revenue Code (IRC), employer contributions to employee health plans were exempt from employee taxable income. As a result of this tax-advantaged form of compensation, the demand for health insurance further increased throughout the 1950s (Thomasson 2003).”

    So, the government wage and price controls created the portability and employer associated problems of medical insurance. It always comes back to the fact that the government caused the “problem” at hand.


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