Ted Kennedy: Public Option "Vital" To HCR

In his last published piece on the subject of health care reform, Senator Ted Kennedy wrote on July 18, 2009:

I long ago learned that you have to be a realist as you pursue your ideals. But whatever the compromises, there are several elements that are essential to any health-reform plan worthy of the name.

. . . To accomplish all of this, we have to cut the costs of health care. . . . [O]ne of the most controversial features of reform is one of the most vital. It's been called the "public plan." . . . This will foster competition in pricing and services. It will be a safety net, giving Americans a place to go when they can't find or afford private insurance, and it's critical to holding costs down for everyone.

(Emphasis supplied.) Don't let the Third Wayers like Ezra Klein and Steve Pearlstein tell falsehoods about what Ted Kennedy thought about the public option. His words speak for themselves.

Speaking for me only

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    Kennedy + Dodd 7/2/09 letter (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by catchy on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 04:57:53 PM EST
    Apologies if you've already posted, but:
    Moreover, a strong public option isn't just what Americans want - it's what America needs. All of us understand the importance of the work we're doing. The health of our economy and our families rely on it. But if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. The Senate must not, and the HELP Committee will not, shy away from this challenge. We must not settle for legislation that merely gestures at reform. We must deliver on the promise of true change.

    How much clearer could the guy be?


    Except "strong"... (none / 0) (#12)
    by lambert on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:05:44 PM EST
    ... like "robust" is a word that's not meaningful without knowing how it's implemented.

    Is HR3200's "public option," which only covers 9 million, "strong"?

    If so, then "strong" is just a way of declaring victory before the mid-terms, and count me out.


    What the morons don't get (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 06:19:18 PM EST
    is the stuff Teddy was willing to compromise on was the smaller, more technical details, not the big thing in question.

    Teddy became the grand master of the possible in the Senate, which is why he was able to get so many things done with GOP co-sponsors.  He knew what was possible and what wasn't.

    If Teddy didn't think it was possible to pass a good public option, he wouldn't have made it the centerpiece of the legislation.  He was NOT in the habit of compromising, or capitulating, on the core issues.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#13)
    by Kitt on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:17:15 PM EST
    Patrick Kennedy said as much today in his eulogy at the cathedral. You can compromise the small details but not to ever compromise your values.

    Now why would be Ted Kennedy change his tune this late in the song?  He didn't.


    Are they deaf? (4.00 / 5) (#3)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 05:14:05 PM EST
    With all the verifiable evidence as to what Kennedy felt was essential for any HCR bill, there's no need for anyone to now try to interpret what Kennedy thought.

    It's been there in black and white for all to see. It's in his written work as well as spoken word.

    Any of these self annointed progressive journalists or analysts that are trying to rewrite his beliefs are an embarrassment to the progressive movement.

    I can accept it from McCain because that's SOP for Republican's. I don't expect it from the left.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 12:53:41 AM EST
    but I have to say; what left?

    We have right and 'right of center' but no left or 'left of center' in any position of power.

    A few backbenchers but no one who's allowed to have any influence.


    Oops! You're talking about pundits (none / 0) (#7)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 12:55:42 AM EST
    Well the same applies to pundits and maybe more so.

    Thanks for that quote (none / 0) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 04:58:56 PM EST
    I will be using it when I write to my Senator.

    use it when you write (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:10:50 AM EST
    to your President.  Let him know that they had better not use TK to pass health Care reform if there is not a ROBUST public option.  Any thing less is nothing but a plastic turkey.

    Good job. (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 05:54:56 PM EST

    Can someone explain (none / 0) (#9)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:41:28 AM EST
    why there is no discussion about a true non-profit option? That is what countries like Switzerland and Germany have instead of public options. Germany has over 200 private insurance companies from which to choose but they are all non profit. Switzerland had for profit insurance until the companies started denying coverage to those who were sick. The people  voted in a referendum to change to non profit in the 90's.

    As I understand it, Blue Cross, which used to be a true non profit is now for profit in most states and only a "pseudo" non profit in others. I have read that the non profit versions pay taxes the way for profit companies do. That seems very strange to me.

    It seems that a truly non profit choice would be able to offer coverage at a much lower cost and would force the other insurers to keep prices down much like a public option would. Am I missing something here? Can anyone fill me in?

    Insurance companies in (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 08:03:00 AM EST
    Switzerland and Germany are highly regulated. No way the corporately owned members of Congress would place the same regulations on the industry here.

    Also, non-profit as defined here in the states can be very misleading.


    That's what I don't get (none / 0) (#11)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 11:14:05 AM EST
    why is the term non profit sometimes misleading? I have worked for a couple of non profit organizations and never heard this.

    I get that the companies are regulated in Europe, but that is what we are talking about here - no denials, same price for everyone, mandated coverage. There is less complaining about those proposals than there is about the public option. Yet there is no talk at all about non profit, yet private insurance. Seems like that would calm a some fears.