• print
  • decrease text sizeincrease text size

Senator Kennedy – A Health Care Champion

Share this post

Senator Kennedy’s legacy cannot be defined within one issue, no matter how important. But it would not be an understatement to say that his life’s work revolved around health care for all. He said so himself, calling it “the cause of [his] life” in a passionate Newsweek op-ed published just last month.

True to form, Kennedy turned his passion into real results. The list of health care legislative accomplishments he was part of is stunning. From the website set up by his family dedicated in his honor:

  • In 1966, Kennedy helped establish the community health center model in the United States. Community health centers are now serving 20 million low-income Americans around the country.
  • In 1985, Kennedy led the fight to enact COBRA, giving workers the ability to purchase health care through their employer after they have been let go from their job.
  • In 1996, Kennedy co-sponsored HIPPAA, which now ensures access to health care coverage for an estimated 25 million Americans who move from one job to another, are self-employed or have pre-existing medical conditions.
  • In 1997, Kennedy was instrumental in passing the CHIP program that gives health care to millions of children.
  • In 2006, Kennedy passed the Family Opportunity Act, which provides states with the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to children with special needs, giving low- and middle-income families with disabled children the opportunity to purchase health coverage under Medicaid.
  • From 1997-2008, Kennedy helped grant Massachusetts the Medicaid waivers it needed to pass its state health care reform plan.
  • In 2008, Kennedy enacted legislation to reform the inequities in the way mental health and substance use disorders are treated by the insurance industry, a 10 year battle.
  • And finally, in 2009 under his leadership and the leadership of his close friend, Senator Chris Dodd, Kennedy passed the Affordable Health Choices Act – which would give everyone in America a guarantee of quality, affordable health care – through the Senate committee he chaired, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The bill awaits a vote by the Senate as the health reform process moves forward.

Senator Kennedy’s towering vision for health care was built on his numerous accomplishments. While there is sadness in knowing Senator Kennedy won’t be with us to see his life’s work completed, we will keep him in our thoughts as our fight continues and we finally achieve quality, affordable health care for all this year.

About the Author: Jason Rosenbaum is a writer and musician currently residing in Washington D.C. He is interested in the intersection of politics and culture, media consolidation issues, and making sense out of our foreign policy disasters. He currently works for Health Care for America Now and he is also the webmaster for The Seminal.

This article originally appeared on the Health Care for America NOW! Blog on August 27, 2009 and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

Codeine prescription diazepam xanax 973. Ambien Sleeping phentermine prescriptions,
ionamin online Phentermine Sale xanax without prescription
phentermine prescriptions, Buy Hydrocodone diazepam 2mg
buy valium online without a prescription Phentermine Price xenical online
phentermine 30mg Buy Zolpidem phentermine pharmacy
hydrocodone for sale; Oxycodone Hcl phetermine!
phentermine canada! Fastin cheap ionamin?
compare phentermine; Zolpidem Tartrate 10 Mg Tablet phentermine pharmacies?
ativan online Ambien Generic ambien without prescription
No prescription phentermine online pharmacy phentermine 521. Ativan Com zolpidem tartrate 10
xanax medication Ambien No Prescription phentermine buy
“buy cheap ambien” Online Pharmacy Phentermine phentermine without a prescription
hydrocodone 5mg? Xanax Bars ambien no prescription
buy valium online Zolpidem Online prescription phentermine
prescription phentermine Online Ambien drug zolpidem
lorazepam brand; Phentermine On Line adipex diet pill
buy alprazolam online Diazepam 10 adipex online
“phentermine for sale” Vicodin Pain order ionamin
www phentermine Phentermine Free Shipping “hoodia weight”
xanax price? Cheap Adipex order valium
diet pills phentermine Buy Ativan ambien drug
fastin pills Lorazepam Drug “ativan vs xanax”
get phentermine Cheap Zolpidem Taking vicodin vicadin 81.
oxycodone 10mg Xanax Pills valium diazepam
ambien sleeping Diazepam Xanax www alprazolam
legal vicodin Cheap Valium hoodia gordonii
cheap zolpidem? Valium Prescription diet pills adipex!
diazepan Drug Tramadol diazepam xanax!
buy ativan Xenical Prices buy cheap valium!
ambien drug Xanax Mg hoodia diet pills
valium 10 Xenical Tablets www adipex
buy cheap xanax? Buy Cheap Ambien ambien sleeping
vicodin pain Phentermine Prescriptions xanax without prescription
valium no prescription needed Phentermine 30 diazepam sale
“purchase xanax” Oxycodone Mg xanax for sale
cheap xanax Adipex Pills valium 10
“lorazepam xanax” Ambien Com prescription adipex online
lorazepam 0.5mg Drug Fastin diazepam 10?
cheap xanax Phentermine Without Prescription phenteramine
discount xanax Diazepam Pharmacy buy alprazolam online
alprazolam pharmacy; Xanax On Line hoodia diet pill
buy valium online Discount Xanax hydrocodone drugs
oxycodone 20 Phentermine vicodin pills
hydrocodone medication Generic Phentermine alprazolam tablet
cheapest phentermine Order Xanax Online drug fastin;
phentermine Hydrocodone Medication phentermine 15
vicodin high Lorazepam Canada Buy ambien buy ambien online 951.
Buy ambien buy ambien online 951. Xanax Drug xenical tablets
cheapest adipex? Valium Diazepam oxycodone 325
oxycodone 20 Vicodin Pill lorazepam brand;

Share this post

On the Death of My Older Brother, Jeremy, and Ted Kennedy

Share this post

In the coming days, many great eulogies of Ted Kennedy will be written. Many will offer personal anecdotes about what a great man he was. I do not intend to write one here.

I have no great anecdotes or personal stories to tell about how Ted Kennedy directly touched my life. I meet the man once briefly in passing while walking in the U.S. Capitol.

I did however lose an older brother, far too young, much as Senator Kennedy did. Anyone who has ever lost an older brother understands the intense pressure that the surviving younger brothers to live up to the legacies of their older brothers. Its an inescapable burden.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my brother. I find myself wondering often what my brother would do if he were still alive. He died at the young age of twenty one of leukemia far before he could develop into the type of activist that I am today. He never got the chance to fight for working people the way that I so luckily have.

Ever since I turned twenty-one, I have treated every day like it was one extra day and cherished it. It has made me want to get up in the morning and worker harder and be smarter because I feel so lucky to be alive. I feel that to not work as hard and diligently as I possibly could would be a disservice to my brother’s legacy. My brother’s legacy serves as a constant source of inspiration for some of the darkest hours and toughest fights.

Senator Kennedy cited his brother’s legacy too in passing health care reform with a public option out of his committee earlier this year. In his statement he said:

“This room is a special place. In this room, my two brothers declared their candidacy for the presidency. Today, the nation takes another major step toward reaching the goals to which they dedicated their careers, and for which they gave their lives. They strived, as I have tried to do, for a fairer and more just America — a nation where every American could share fully in the promise of quality health care.”

America has lost an older brother in the death of Ted Kennedy. We must all be fortunate that we are still alive and around to fight to make a public health insurance plan available for all Americans that Ted would have loved to fight for. We must work harder for the things that we believe in. If Ted were still alive today, he would be fighting like hell for the public health insurance option that he considered a fundamental human right.

Lets fight for my brother too. He died tragically and far too young. His death shocked my family. Fortunately, my father was a member of a union and the union provided us with excellent health care. In the closing days of my brother’s lives, we did not have to worry about medical bills. We spent them enjoying the company of my brother, Jeremy.

Every American deserves the same type of high quality health care that my brother, Jeremy, had in the closing days of his life. There is no reason why people in the richest country on the planet should have to suffer because their only crime was being too poor to afford quality health care.

Let’s fight like hell for the public health insurance plan that Senator Kennedy so dearly fought for in the closing days of his life.

My deepest condolences to the friends and family of Senator Kennedy.

I hope that Ted is in heaven now finally reunited with his brothers as I hope to someday be reunited with mine.

About the Author: Mike Elk is a third-generation union organizer who worked previously for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE). Currently, he works at the Campaign for America’s Future in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he has worked as a staffer on the Obama-Biden Campaign and conducted research on worker owned cooperatives at the Instituto Marques de Salamanca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When Mike is not reading twenty blogs at a time, he enjoys jazz, golden retrievers, and playing horseshoes.

This article originally appeared in Campaign for America’s Future on August 26, 2009. Reprinted with permission by the author.

valium Taking Vicodin prescription adipex
buy adipex online Buy Xanax alprazolam tablets
hoodia pills Taking Phentermine buy phentermine on line
ambien sleeping Ionamin hoodia diet pills
phentermine phentermine Xanax For Sale phentermine 30mg
buy phentermine? Phentermine 30mg diet adipex!
order ambien, Phentermine Pills phentermine 30mg
phentermine sale Vicodin Tablets phentermine weight loss!
Taking phentermine where to buy phentermine 489. What Is Oxycodone ambien sleeping
cheap alprazolam Order Ionamin get phentermine
best phentermine Generic Zolpidem xanax bars
valium prescription Xanax Anxiety hydrocodone drugs
buy zolpidem Xenical Sales buy phentermine?
ambien sleeping Adipex Com no prescription diazepam
adipex 37.5, Ativan Xanax hoodia diet,
online xanax, Hoodia Diet Pill Buy ambien buy ambien online 951.
alprazolam tablets Order Phentermine Online cheapest adipex?
phentermine 15 Xanax Without Prescription buy adipex?
Vicodin on line vicodin tablets 398. Xanax Price what is oxycodone
zolpidem tartrate Buy Lorazepam Online buy cheap valium!
1 lorazepam Ativan Drug xanax and alcohol
alprazolam tablet Codeine Prescription cheapest tramadol
phentermine 15 Purchase Valium phentermine 37.5 mg
ic hydrocodone apap Lorazepam Brand adipex diet pill
phentermine cheap Alprazolam Xanax order adipex
prescription adipex online Hydrocodone Vicodin online ambien!
“phentermine diet” Phentermine Diet Pill Phentermine drug phentermine drugs 637.
valium 10mg Alprazolam Online Pharmacy discount valium online;
oxycodone drug Phentermine Drugs ionamine
oxycodone 325 Valium Taking vicodin vicadin 81.
alprazolam prescription Phentermine Without A Prescription “xanax pill”
“buy lorazepam” Ionamin Diet Pill buy hoodia
zanax Ativan Lorazepam phentermine tablets
best phentermine Order Phentermine xanax xr;
ambien pharmacy; Hoodia Pill phentermine phentermine
phentermine pharmacies? Xenical Sale cheap ionamin?
xanax without prescription Buy Alprazolam Online buy valium no prescription
“ativan vs xanax” Buy Zolpidem Online xanax 1mg?
phentermine price Drugs Vicodin Taking phentermine where to buy phentermine 489.
phentermine sale Www Adipex diazepam 10mg
diet adipex! Valium Online phenteramine
xanax for sale Adipex P ativan lorazepam
phentermine sale Buy Diazepam Online ambien sleeping
adipex pharmacy, Zanax oxycodone 325
Codeine prescription diazepam xanax 973. Xanax Xr phentermine prescriptions,
ionamin online Phentermine 37.5 Mg xanax without prescription
phentermine prescriptions, Cheapest Adipex diazepam 2mg
buy valium online without a prescription Cheap Ambien xenical online
phentermine 30mg Zoloft Xanax phentermine pharmacy
hydrocodone for sale; Cheap Ativan phetermine!

Share this post

Trying Times Call for Healthy Families Act

Share this post

These are challenging times for America’s families. One in 4 Americans, or about 23 percent of those surveyed in a recent Gallup Poll, report that they are “very worried” about keeping up with their monthly bills over the next six months. That’s up from 19 percent a year ago and 15 percent in March 2007.

And while many of us are working harder than ever to keep pace under the current economic pressure, workplace duties are not the only duties we have.

Family responsibilities await us at home. That is why we must pass the Healthy Families Act, introduced in the 111th Congress on May 18 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, and Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, also a Democrat.

Workers still get sick. Children still get fevers and runny noses. Mom or Dad still needs to take them to the doctor or just stay by their bedside to nurse them back to health. No matter how dedicated workers are to hanging on to their jobs at all cost, the need to occasionally take time away from work never goes away–not even in a tough recession, not even when jobs are this hard to come by.

Unfortunately, nearly half of private sector workers in the United States don’t have a single paid sick day to care for themselves. Additionally, nearly 100 million Americans get no paid time off to care for an ailing child or an aging parent.

Fewer “Wives” at Home

While this is an issue for all workers, the reality is that women, or “wives,” have historically been tasked with the family care-giving responsibilities–and most families do not have a “wife” at home these days.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to a 2007 report by the Multi-State Working Families Consortium, “Valuing Families: It’s About Time,” less than 6 percent of all women in the U.S. were in the work force at the turn of the century. By 1950, that number had climbed to 24 percent; by 2000 to 60 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of single parents–mostly women–has also mushroomed and single mothers are working many more hours than they have in past years. Why? The Valuing Families report attributes this to pent-up demand among women for career opportunity and economic independence–and economic necessity. Simply put, over the last 35 years women’s increased work and earnings has been the only avenue for many families to attain or maintain economic self-sufficiency.

Though the flood of women into the work force has been beneficial, it has raised an obvious question for families: how to provide all the care, support and supervision that children need without jeopardizing family economic self-sufficiency. For working women without paid sick days, occasionally staying home when a child is ill could mean the loss of a day’s pay, or worse, the loss of a job.

It’s a terrible choice that strikes fear in the hearts of all workers; a fear grounded in workplace reality.

Consequences of Time Off

In a 2006 survey, conducted by the Center on Work Life Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, 1 in 6 workers said they or a family member had been fired, suspended, punished or threatened by an employer for taking time off to care for themselves or a family member when ill.

This is all highly counterproductive.

Healthy workers are key to a healthy national economy.

Paid sick days reduce the business costs of turnover, absenteeism and lack of productivity when workers are sick on the job. In fact, if workers were provided just seven paid sick days annually, according to information released by the National Partnership for Women and Families in 2008, our national economy would enjoy an annual net savings of more than $8 billion.

Healthy workers also contribute to a healthy public. As public health experts and our own government have repeatedly warned as we contend with H1N1 swine flu, sick workers can protect public health by staying home. But they shouldn’t have to pay the awful price of job loss and family financial instability to do so.

For all these reasons we need to pass the Healthy Families Act.

It would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member, or for diagnostic and preventative care. Equally important, it would allow workers time to recover from domestic violence or sexual assault. Just as no worker should have to choose between pay and health, no worker should have to choose between pay and safety.

Need for Federal Policy

In the last three years, paid sick days legislation has passed in three cities: San Francisco, the District of Columbia and Milwaukee, where implementation is being held up by legal challenges.

This year, there are 15 active paid sick-days state campaigns. But what America needs most in these tough economic times is federal policy like the Healthy Families Act.

A broad coalition of women’s, civil rights, health, children’s, faith-based and labor organizations supports the act. It has more than 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House, strong leadership from Ted Kennedy in the Senate and the steadfast support of the White House.

In accepting his party’s nomination last August, President Obama said, “We measure the strength of our economy by whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job.” Later he reiterated, “Now is the time to help families with paid sick days, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.”

Congress must pass the Healthy Families Act. The President must sign it.

We must ensure that all families have the tools to be as healthy and as economically self-sufficient as possible as we move toward recovery in the days ahead.

About the Author: Linda Meric is a nationally-known speaker on family-friendly workplace policy and executive director of 9to5, National Association of Women. A diverse, grassroots, membership-based nonprofit that helps strengthen women’s ability to win economic justice, 9to5 has staffed offices in Milwaukee, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Jose.

This article originally appeared in Women’s eNews on June 8, 2009. Reprinted with permission by the author.

Share this post

Subscribe For Updates

Sign Up:

* indicates required

Recent Posts

Forbes Best of the Web, Summer 2004
A Forbes "Best of the Web" Blog


  • Tracking image for JustAnswer widget
  • Find an Employment Lawyer

  • Support Workplace Fairness


Find an Employment Attorney

The Workplace Fairness Attorney Directory features lawyers from across the United States who primarily represent workers in employment cases. Please note that Workplace Fairness does not operate a lawyer referral service and does not provide legal advice, and that Workplace Fairness is not responsible for any advice that you receive from anyone, attorney or non-attorney, you may contact from this site.