The "legendary" senator from Massachusetts was a proponent of government run health care of the single-payer variety. Oh, I know, he just wanted "reform" of this heinous system that leaves millions of uninsured Americans (and illegal immigrants) without medical care. No, actually, that's not right either. It leaves them without insurance. They get health care, albeit not as conveniently as those with insurance. In any event, he wanted single payer. Let's quote from his convention speech in 1980:
Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must -- We must not surrender -- We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth.
The President, the Vice President, the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full, and whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it, and when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the Federal Government? And I say again, as I have before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President, the Congress of the United States, then it's good enough for you and every family in America.
There you have it. "National health insurance," complete with wage and price controls dictated in Washington. The second paragraph I include simply for the amusing child-like innocence on the part of the speaker, and the assumption of a similar innocence in the listening audience. Could he really have no clue as to what the government (i.e., taxpayers) paid for the health insurance and subsequent care that he received? Could he really believe that because he is a Senator the government is in control of the finances of the private sector doctors and hospitals he visits?
Well, the ultimate Ted Kennedy legacy may be written next Tuesday: the election of a Republican for what was his Senate seat by the voters of Massachusetts, one who is campaigning with the looming healthcare monstrosity (and his opposition to it) front and center.
"He’s making health care a front-and-center issue in the most liberal state in the country, and it’s working for him,’’ said Whit Ayres, who cofounded Resurgent Republic, a group of conservative pollsters and strategists formed to shape the national debate. “That’s the major message - that this bill is an albatross around the necks of the Democrats, and if it works this well in Massachusetts, just imagine how well it will work in less liberal states."...
He has called for Congress to “go back to the drawing board’’ and come up with a new plan. And he has capitalized on speculation about whether Democrats might try to delay his confirmation if he wins in order to ram the health bill through, stoking concerns about transparency and fairness raised by special deals Democratic leaders made last year to entice fence-sitters to vote for the bill.
“Threatening to ignore the results of a free election and steal this Senate vote from the people of Massachusetts takes their schemes to a whole new level,’’ the Brown campaign said in a recent statement, in a burst of rhetoric that has been typical of his camp. A spokesman for Brown declined to comment for this story.
Polls have the race swinging dramatically to Republican Scott Brown. A robo-poll from Pajamas Media shows an even bigger gap, one which would be shocking if accurate for a state like Massachusetts. Jennifer Rubin writes:
Since September, the country has witnessed the visible battle over ObamaCare — late-night votes, Cash for Cloture deals, and a bill that offends a wide array of groups. Democrats have never looked up or paused to consider the public’s views on the matter. They tell us they will “sell it” to us later. That arrogant defiance of public opinion and the unseemly legislative process that produced a grossly unpopular bill have fueled a resurgence of anger and determination among conservatives and even usually apathetic independents. They now are anxious to send a message to Washington: stop ignoring the voters.
Exactly. Speaking in generalities majorities are in favor of "the government" taking care of people who need help. Once the majorities see what the nuts and bolts of such a commitment entails with health care those majorities flip, which is precisely what we're witnessing. The people of Kennedy's own state, now that they see the devils in the details - higher taxes, ballooning federal spending, scarcity in health care, reduced quality, waits and rationing - are realizing that a system that provides quality care to even those without insurance is better than a system designed to insure everyone at, eventually, the cost of that quality.
Senator Kennedy called nationalized health care "the cause of my life." The people of Massachusetts, now that they see what that entails, may say to forget it. As for his legacy, it may always have been ... well ... something else, regardless.
1/17/10 2300: Jeff Jacoby with more:
What Obama and his party delivered, however, was not uplifting and transparent bipartisanship.
It was trillion-dollar increases in government spending. It was party-line votes on 2,000-page bills. It was “cash-for-cloture’’ backroom deals. It was tone-deaf boasts about millions of jobs “created or saved,’’ even as unemployment soared into double digits and millions of American jobs disappeared.
Above all, it was the attempt to force through a radical health-care overhaul that would drive up the cost of medical insurance, slash Medicare by half a trillion dollars, and subject one-seventh of the US economy to government micromanagement...
A year ago, Americans were enchanted with their new president. Today they are suffering from severe buyer’s remorse. Massachusetts may be the bluest state, but voters here are fed up too.