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Archive for the ‘Senator Edward Kennedy’ Category

What the Kennedy Who Lived on Had to Offer

Huffington Post    By- Alec Baldwin

Posted: August 28, 2009 10:29 AM

How unusual to mark the death of a Kennedy man in old age and from ordinary circumstances like illness. No tragic accidents. No political homicides. No footage to watch, obsessively, for decades to come, wondering what brought that moment on.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy lived on beyond his legendary brothers and faced the task that both John and Robert were denied: living. Living on to face the ebb and flow of an over forty year political career in the US Senate. Living on to represent the state of Massachusetts, the voters of which returned him to that job over and over again. Living on to craft a place of true effectiveness within the numbingly ineffective culture of the US Capitol. Living on to also serve as the titular head of a large (in modern terms, enormous) family. The other Kennedy men died young and two are enshrined in a place in the American soul that few humans can ever know. Ted lived on. To care. To serve. To love his country, his countrymen and his family.

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If they’re going to name the final healthcare reform bill after Senator Kennedy, we ought to be demanding with voices as powerful and booming as the late senator’s…

The bill must not suck.

But if it does, perhaps they should name it after Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley. The Blame Baucus and Grassley for This Sucky Act. Or maybe borrow the name of the House bill, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, which, by the way, reminds me more of a frozen diet meal than a robust healthcare reform bill (the final House bill is actually pretty robust — it’s just a ridiculous name).

On this day of national mourning, we’re reminded that Senator Kennedy’s political legacy has been inextricably bound to the cause of universal healthcare. Affordable, portable, reliable healthcare.

It’s difficult to know for sure, but I can’t imagine, had he not been stricken with cancer, that the senator would be lending his unmistakable baritone to the awfulness, equivocation and bipartisan hackery that’s on display within the ranks of the Max Baucus ‘Gang of Six’. It goes without saying that left to their own spineless and corrupt devices, these six senators will absolutely deliver a terrible healthcare reform bill, one that would only serve to besmirch the Kennedy legacy.

So what exactly does a sucky healthcare bill look like?

Naturally, without a beefy public health insurance plan, healthcare reform would be an utter disaster — or worse. To refer to the public option as just a “sliver” of the bill, or to push for eliminating it altogether is almost as bad as having no reform at all. Journalists, writers and bloggers who I otherwise respect have been damning the public option with faint praise lately. Let’s not sabotage healthcare reform with partisan ultimatums, they say. We can have a great bill without it, they say.

No, sirs. No we can’t.

They’re not seeing the big picture here. I get it, though. There are many other meaningful aspects to healthcare reform. Banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, setting caps on out of pocket expenses, bans on rescission. These are all excellent and historic.

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