Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy

I just found out, through Twitter, of course, that Senator Ted Kennedy has passed away. I had the opportunity to meet him in 2004 when he was stumping for John Kerry. It was early in the primary season, so it was a fairly small crowd and I was able to be just a couple of metres away from him. He was amazing. First of all, really handsome! More handsome than I expected given his age and more handsome than he looked on TV. His body looked just really worn and tired. I guess he had terrible back problems. But his spirit and mind were vibrant! He had quite a powerful voice to carry his eloquence. I got to shake his hand. It was a humbling experience to be in the presence of greatness.

Now our task is to carry on his legacy by passing a good health care reform bill, one with at least a few teeth! He lived his life doing great work, but also the often tedious work in Congress to get lines in bills and getting bills passed that serve the American people, ALL of the American people. At the VERY LEAST, we need to make illegal any discrimination by health insurance providers against people with pre-existing conditions. End of life counseling is a compassionate way to touch the lives of our patients and we should not shy away from it because stupid people have made ridiculous and outrageous misinterpretations of this. There should be the availability of a publicly funded segment of health insurance if not delivery. We already have this in the forms of Medicare, Medicaid, KidsCare, and the V.A. These kinds of options should be available to every American who chooses to utilize them. Health insurance should never have been linked to employment, certainly not as the primary method of coverage for the country. Most importantly, for-profit health insurance companies and health care institutions should absolutely not exist. Why? Because in a for-profit system, illness will always pay better than wellness.

Healthcare reform was the Senator's last crusade. Let us carry on that mission and help him achieve one of his last goals.

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