I have had on my bookshelf for the longest time a book called "In Critical Condition: the Crisis in America's Health Care" by Edward M. Kennedy. Chapter I: Sickness and Bankruptcy - A Double Disaster Chapter II: What Price Good Health? Chapter III: No Money, No Medical Care Chapter IV: Where Have All the Doctors Gone? Chapter V: The Medical Maze Chapter VI: Good Care, Poor Care. Chapter VII: Businessmen or Healers? Chapter VIII: The Health Insurance Trap Chapter IX- Better Health Care at Lower Cost in Other Countries Chapter X: Good Health Care: A Right for All Americans The book was published in 1972. Does any of the discussion sound at all familiar?
There is little doubt in my mind that Ted Kennedy was one of the greatest United States Senators ever. Just this past weekend on ABC News, John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated that the current health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend, the "Lion of the Senate", wasn't able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy was an "old-time" senator who really DID work "across the aisle".
I believe his greatness in the Senate was fueled in no small part by the fact that he never became President. like his brother Jack did and his brother Bobby likely would have, had he not been assassinated in 1968. And I think it's because of a tragedy of his own making, Chappaquiddick, in 1969.
I supported Ted Kennedy when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Yet, at the same time, I was scared to death for him. Every President who was elected, or re-elected in a year ending in zero, going back to 1840, had died in office. Moreover, all of Ted's brothers had died violent deaths, including his brother Joe in World War II.
So Ted Kennedy's sad but unsurprising death would, in the movies, stir both sides to open their hearts, work together for comprehensive health care reform, and we'd have a nice warm, fuzzy feeling in our bellies as the end credits rolled.