Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), making his second appearance on Capitol Hill since he began treatment for a malignant brain tumor in June, told reporters yesterday that he would advance a bill early next year calling for universal health care.
Some Democrats, including members of President-elect Barack Obama's circle, have begun to view expanded coverage as a longer-term goal.
The brief appearance by Kennedy, who made a surprise return in July to vote on a Medicare bill, represented an opportunity for him to show colleagues that he remains energetic and engaged, and that he intends to reclaim his committee post in January and take charge of the Obama health-care agenda. Some Democrats had speculated that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) would attempt to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.