Farewell to Senator Kennedy, Champion of Health Care Reform

Senator Edward “Ted” M. Kennedy was born into wealth and privilege, but spent his life advocating for the poor and disadvantaged. 

Senator Kennedy was, by his own account, a very flawed man, one who experienced great personal failures and tremendous regret. It would have been easy for him to retreat, but he chose to live out his life in service to his country and his fellow man. His ability to see life through the eyes of those less fortunate than himself and his sense of duty to right the obvious wrongs, won the hearts of democrats and republicans alike.

He’ll be forever remembered as a champion of civil rights, equality, and bipartisanship. A leader in the fight for health care reform, which he said was the cause of his life, Senator Kennedy made it clear that health care for all was something he dearly wanted to achieve in his lifetime. Sadly, he will not see his dream come to pass.

As he waged a personal battle against brain cancer, he never lost sight of the fact that many Americans do not have access to the same quality of care that he did. 

“What we have in the United States is not so much a health-care system as a disease-care system.” – Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Concerned to the end about health care and worried that he would be unable to complete his term, he recently requested a change in Massachusetts law that would allow the governor to appoint someone to fill his seat until a special election could be held. His death, and the loss of his vote on health care reform, could have a serious impact on the outcome.

Now, more than ever, all our efforts are needed if we are to accomplish major health care reform this year. Sign the petitions Support Historic Health Bill and We Demand a Public Option. 

If a comprehensive health care bill manages to pass during this president’s term, it will be due in no small part to decades of effort on the part of Senator Kennedy, and would serve as a lasting testament to his passion and commitment.

Thank you, Senator Kennedy, for a lifetime of service. Your legacy will be that of a rare breed — a compassionate politician. May you rest in peace.

View and sign the petition:  “Honoring Ted Kennedy”

Other Care2 posts remembering Senator Kennedy: 

Thank You, Senator Kennedy
Senator Edward M. Kennedy: a Fierce Advocate for Gay Rights  
Ted Kennedy, Champion of Environmental Protection  
Health Care Reform Without Kennedy: Remembering Kennedy and his Cause
Carrying on the Legacy of Senator Kennedy


Subhash Joshi
Subhash Joshi8 years ago

We Indians have enjoyed the sympathy that the Kennedys always had for the poor in India and the world over. This sympathy was extended universally by them and I acknowledge it most gratefully.

Senator Kennedy's visit to India, in the aftermath of the Bangladesh Liberation War, is one high point of his life in relation to India where, despite the policies of Nixon-Kissinger combine, he and his colleagues mobilised resources for the care of displaced persons and is gratefully acknowledged and etched in the minds of Indians of my generation. He continued to champion India and India related causes because of a certain conviction which he used to good effect when he felt that we ourselves were in error on any issues.

Thanks Senator Kennedy - may you rest in peace.

I believe that President Obama's healthcare movement may temporarily loose momentum - it would only be temporary because a majority in the Senate and the Congress are convinced of the need for health care reform, big buck buccaneers of present system amongst the medical and pharma fraternity notwithstanding whose sole aim is to bleed the ordinary Americans through research mostly funded with public money and production facility erection subsidized with public money though profits are cornered to fill their own coffers.

I am sure that there are many wise Americans within and outside the Senate and the Congress who will continue to champion health redform with the same wisdom and vigour that Sen Kennedy did.

Diane H. F8 years ago

But what a disservice that Sen. Kennedy's years of advocacy on behalf of our poor has been censored out of the media/public discussion. Supposedly, the agenda (or maybe only the cliche) was to move people from welfare poverty into jobs. Welfare was "reformed," but the promised skills training, education and jobs (to be funded with the money taken from benefits) never materialized -- in spite of government's assurances. We now have some of the most severe economic disparities among all nations, and some of the worst poverty in the industrialized world. It's bad enough that today's Americans are so unconcerned about US poverty and our (mis)treatment of the poor, but it dishonors Sen. Kennedy to ignore the work he did for the poor.

Dee P.
Dee P8 years ago

From what few of the comments I've read, the comment by Jim D. is the only one that makes sense. The rest of what I read is garbage. THis country has suffered a great loss with the passing of Senator Kennedy. I wonder if any of the ones attempting to discredit him know of the wonderful humanitarian deeds he did for others?

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Rest in peace, Senator Kennedy. The work you have done during your tenure shall be remembered...Civil Rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act are only two of the many bills drafted and made into law during your service in the Senate. Many are grateful for your work and accomplishments; as I am.

It really is quite a shame that some haven't a decent thing to say about a human being who has just passed away. It is ill mannered and ill-bred to make unkind remarks regarding the deceased. I hope when Congress reconvenes, they will pass a good healthcare reform Bill in honor of Sen. Kennedy. Because, they sure aren't listening to the PEOPLE!

Jim D.
Past Member 8 years ago

"It's rather hypocritical of the Democrats to change state law back & forth for their benefit. "... etc."

Yeah; welcome to party politics. The one in power gets to make the rules. (no doubt frightening to you at the moment) If it helps, here in Texas and elsewhere, redistricting has made Reps a shoe-in for decades to come. So there's that.

But the folks who really BBQ's Romney are the Reps. They trashed him for being LDS (Mormon). Imagine that, religionists attacking a guy for being a religionist. I laughed my ass off, speaking of hypocrisy.

Politics is nothing if not entertaining.


Rex J.
Rex J8 years ago

Sandra S, about Barney Frank. Talk about even handed, that woman told a Jew that the healthcare plan he was fighting for was a Nazi plan. How stupid is she. Very, very, stupid. Six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis and you say he was rude. You have some growing up to do.

Jim D.
Past Member 8 years ago

"Senator Ed. Kennedy rest in peace!!GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL.The Kennedy Family they will always be known as the voice for the people with Heart.He will be missed by a big and great nation USA!!!"



Sandra S.
Sandra S8 years ago

It's rather hypocritical of the Democrats to change state law back & forth for their benefit. "...The Democratic-controlled legislature in Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts in 2004 changed state law to require special elections and prevent then Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a replacement had Sen. John Kerry won the presidency. Just days before his death Kennedy asked state lawmakers to revert to the old system so that the current Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick could name a successor if Kennedy had to leave office, avoiding the gap of up to five months between the vacancy and the holding of a special election and ensuring that Democrats wouldn't lose a vote crucial to passing the health care legislation...."


Sandra S.
Sandra S8 years ago

Cate: We waited until he died to be critical of him??? We only really care about spreading hate??? To quote Barney Frank (something I've never done until now), "Madam, on what planet do you spend most of your time?" How about being the least bit even handed & be critical of those on the Daily Kos, etc. who say the nastiest of things about dead Republicans or Conservatives? It works both ways. Be critical of a Liberal who's passed away and you're disgusting petty slime. Be critical of anyone on the Right who dies and get kudos or a pass.

Passing gov't health care reform to "honor" Ted Kennedy is a horrific reason to pass it. Rose G. summed that up well. Ted didn't even begin hold a candle to his sister Eunice who started the Special Olympics and did so much for the mentally retarded. For her I hold high regard. For Ted, I'm sorry for anyone who suffers/ed from brain cancer, he fought a hard battle to survive, and I feel sympathy for his family who loved him, but that's it.

Sandra S.
Sandra S8 years ago

You're right Andrew. We're not a Democracy, we're a Republic. Oh and voting works really, really well in a dictatatorship! Why just look at places like Cuba for example. Are you kidding me?

Andrew W.
Andrew W8 years ago

People like the ones posting the stupid comments against late senator Kennedy are showing their backwardness, stupidity and coward feelings. They are those who keep the USA as the most backward and western country on Human Rights, with a false system they call democracy. There is no democracy without respecting Human Rights. Most people ignore completely that voting also happens in dictatorships, and it is NOT a characteristic of a democracy. USA is not a dictatorship, but not a democracy either only because its own people do not know what a democracy is and want to keep their country the way it is. That people should learn what a democracy is by studying how the most developed democratic countries in the world live by respecting Human Rights. They do not want to migrate to the USA just because they wouldn't live in a non democratic country. That, of course, is why the USA gets immigrants from dictatorships and other backward countries alone .