Talk around the nation circles around Ted Kennedy's passing, but there are also not so quiet whispers about Congress passing meaningful health care reform.
There is even a call to name the health care reform bill after Kennedy. This would be fantastic so long as it was a strong piece of legislation. Kennedy was a strong supporter of the single-payer system. That's right. Just like Canada. This is the variety of health care that conjures images of rich, tan-skinned golfers with zipper scars from elective bypass surgery holding forth round the campfire about not being able to get said bypass surgery as a pre-emptive, in-and-out countermeasure against a healthier diet of fruits and vegetables.
Ted Kennedy believed that access to health care is a basic human right. He also believed that innovation was important. He was a vocal booster for DNA research, in vitro fertilization, fetal tissue research and stem cell research. He supported the best and the bravest measures to give people the most enjoyable lives possible.
Health care reform is necessary. Those of us outside the halls of power who don't watch Fox News can all agree on this score. Had Kennedy gotten his way back in the 70s when he first started pushing for a plan, we would not be in the mass we are now. Hindsight is 20/20. People are dying in this swamp of deregulation and dire enthusiasm for economic (and socio-political) Manichaeism.
There has been talk of a bipartisan plan. Not to put too fine a point on it: This is a fool's errand. Kennedy was the best person to push through a bipartisan plan. But the fact is a stupid thing here, to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan: Republicans will ruin any chance we have here to provide Americans with the basic right of access to health care. They will stop at nothing to turn meaningful reform into profit for the companies that helped get them elected.
A bipartisan health care reform plan is an absurdity. Let's face it, folks, everyone is on the take here, and the insurance companies are running plays as they see fit.
Can the death of our "liberal lion" create the stage for something miraculous? Maybe. It could be that everyone will step up and take their medicine, swallow the bitter pill; allow the uncomfortable procedure--pay higher taxes instead of rapacious premiums. (Come to think of it, medicine tastes much better now than it did in the 70s.)
Most people ask for donations to a favorite or deeply relevant cause when a loved one dies. Here's how you can make a donation on Ted Kennedy's behalf: Spend a little time. Call your Senator and your Representative in the House and demand that they help pass a strong public option that rivals Ted Kennedy's vision of a single-payer system.
Here's are two links where you can find all the information you need to do the right thing. It's a fitting tribute to a great man. It will take you less than five minutes:
Orignally pubished on Air America.
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