The following speech should be read and discussed by every single American by tomorrow morning. If it is read and discussed America would have health care for all by Labor Day. –KAS
AMY GOODMAN: Well, this is Senator Kennedy speaking in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, in April, 2008, one month before he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: But it brings me back, my friends, to another thought, and that is the whole issue of health insurance and universal coverage. It has been the passion of my life. It has been the passion of my life.
And it has been the passion of my life since the earliest days of my life, when we had been exposed to a sister with mental retardation and we saw the special kinds of care that she needed and the attention that she took; seven months in a hospital after a plane crash; three children, two of which have had cancer, cancer of the lungs; son who lost a leg to cancer as a young child. I was exposed to really the challenges of healthcare, and I was always also exposed to the very best in healthcare.
And one of the searing memories in my life is being in a children’s hospital in Boston with my son who had lost his leg to cancer, and he was under a regime that was going to take three days of treatment every three weeks for two years in order to be able to be in this process or this system, this treatment, that offered the best opportunity. And it was being paid for, since it was an experimental, by NIH. And they paid for probably the first four months that I was in that particular regime. And after that, it had demonstrated some success, and they stopped the payments.
But for all the other families, they didn’t have the kind of health insurance that that had, with $3,000 for every family, every three weeks. And I listened to these families, whose had—their children had the same kind of affliction that my child had. And they said, “Look, we’ve sold our house. We have the $30,000. We have $20,000. We’re able to afford it for three months, for four months, for five months. What kind of chance does my child have to be able to survive?”
I knew that my child was going to have the best, because I had the health insurance of the United States Senate. And I knew that no one, no parent, no parent, in that hospital had the kind of coverage that I had. That kind of choice for any parent in this country is absolutely unacceptable and wrong, my friends.
And I can tell you this: when every member of the United States Senate comes in and signed into the United States Senate, they signed a little card in two places, and one is their signature for their salary, and the other is for their health insurance. Their health insurance. Now, Senator Brown of Ohio, to his credit, will not accept it until the people of Ohio get it. Every other member of the United States Senate—every other member of the United States Senate has accepted it. And for the fifteen times that I have fought on the floor of the United States Senate that we ought to have universal comprehensive coverage and to listen to those voices on the other side that have universal and comprehensive coverage and say, “No, it is not time. We can’t afford it. It’s the wrong bill at the wrong time”—my friends, if that health insurance is good enough for the members of the Congress of the United States and good enough for the President of the United States, it’s good enough for everybody in Montgomery County, everyone in Pennsylvania, and everyone across this country.
AMY GOODMAN: The late Senator Ted Kennedy speaking in April 2008 in Pennsylvania.