Kennedy's death to have effect on healthcare reform
Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
The death of Senator Edward Kennedy has shaken the United States Senate, which is presently monopolized in reforming the US health care system - an issue bearing the Kennedy name.
Throughout his Senate career, Kennedy championed the health care debate, as he idealized that health care coverage should be universal, believing it was a fundamental right for all individuals.
"For me, this is a season of hope, new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many and not just for the few, new hope. And this is the cause of my life, new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American - north, south, east, west, young, old - will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege," Kennedy said during his speech at last year's Democratic convention.
Kennedy spent the majority of the preceding year in chemotherapy and recuperation. However, this was broken by a surprise return to the capitol last summer to cast a decisive vote on a Medicare bill that reversed a 10.6 per cent cut in Medicare payments to doctors who care for millions of older Americans.
According to The New York Times, both Democrats and Republicans have said that the Senator's death should provide a temporary breathing period from the spiteful fulmination that have occurred throughout the summer of 2009.
"Let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear Teddy's name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American," Senator Robert Byrd of West Virgina said in a statement.
Byrd is one of only two Senators to have served longer in the United States Senate than the late Kennedy; the other is Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
Unfortunately, some articulated very little hope for a permanent treaty among Senate members.
"We shall pause out of respect for our fallen comrade, but nothing seems to have any effect on the partisanship," said Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
Succeeding the demise of the Senator, several Republicans have stated that Kennedy was a legislative phenom who, with adversaries, composed compromises on touchy subjects like education and health care.
The most evident impact of Kennedy's death is on Capitol Hill where, due to his death, the Democrats will be reduced to 59 seats in the Senate as Massachusetts law states that a special election must be held in order to fill the vacant seat. This election is to be held on Jan. 19, 2010 or Jan. 26, 2010, according to The Boston Globe.
The White House declined to comment about the impact, if any, Kennedy's death would have on the ongoing health care debate.
"Maybe Teddy's passing will remind people once again that we are there to get a job done as he would do," said Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.