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Ted Kennedy, 1980: “Let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.”

In honor of the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy, Bob Meek is circulating this quote from Kennedy’s 1980 Democratic convention speech (that was the year he sought the presidential nomination, but lost to President Jimmy Carter):

“Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must — We must not surrender — We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.

“The President, the Vice President, the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full, and whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it, and when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the Federal Government? And I say again, as I have before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President, the Congress of the United States, then it’s good enough for you and every family in America.”

The fuill speech, with audio, is available here.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 08/26/2009 - 09:58 am.

    29 years ago.

    An entire generation has been born and become old enough to face the same old problem. And it has only gotten worse.

    It’s just amazing.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/26/2009 - 04:56 pm.

    When George Bush had his annual physical, he was seen by (as I recall) seven specialists and the exam and various tests took most of the day. Preventive measures prescribed included a statin drug to reduce the chance of a heart attack in the future.

    When Dick Cheney traveled, he was accompanied by an ambulance staffed by EMTs just in case he might have another heart attack. It was they who were available to give instant help to the friend Cheney accidentally shot in the face.

    Both these gentlemen believe that access by poor people to an emergency room when a health problem has reached a stage of crisis constitutes “health care” and that this access means we already have universal health care.

  3. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/27/2009 - 11:28 am.

    It seems to me a different notion might be taken from Senator Ted’s comments.

    Since the problem with health care seems to be the cost of it, and in some places access to it,

    And since as his comments make clear Congress has seen to it that its members are completely sheltered from this,

    Perhaps a better way to solve the cost problem might be to make Congress live with the kind of cost sharing most of us have to live with.

    It might help them to focus better on the real problem, rather than proposing a system which — if we all got what Congress gets — would bring this country to its knees.

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