Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy (1932 - 2009)

TuftScope acknowledges and remembers the service of Senator Edward 'Ted' M. Kennedy (1932 - 2009) who passed away today from the lingering consequences of malignant brain cancer. As a representative of our state of Massachusetts for nearly 46 years, he defended progressive change and legislation. He was a stalwart defender of healthcare as a right, rather than as privilege, and of multiple other critical issues. Despite his flaws he brought about such seminal legislation as HIPAA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Today's NY Times carries a biographical article about him, we urge you to read the article to learn more about the complex and full life of the Senator. The article had this to say:

Born to one of the wealthiest American families, Mr. Kennedy spoke for the downtrodden in his public life while living the heedless private life of a playboy and a rake for many of his years. Dismissed early in his career as a lightweight and an unworthy successor to his revered brothers, he grew in stature over time by sheer longevity and by hewing to liberal principles while often crossing the partisan aisle to enact legislation. A man of unbridled appetites at times, he nevertheless brought a discipline to his public work that resulted in an impressive catalog of legislative achievement across a broad landscape of social policy.

We hope that his legacy on healthcare will be reflected in the bills being considered before Congress in the coming months.

Update: From a Newsweek article, the Senator's own words on healthcare (emphasis added; July 18, 2009):
But quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face. Every American should be able to get the same treatment that U.S. senators are entitled to.

This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver—to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, "that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege." For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me—and more urgency—than ever before. But it's always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.
Update #2: Senator Ted Kennedy spoke during the Nixon Administration on universal healthcare:

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TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

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