The Commonwealth Comment

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

With Liberty, Justice, and Healthcare for all

Massachusetts' Senior Senator Ted Kennedy is promoting a Universal Healthcare program for the United States. He would like to see the program in place by 2010.

Kennedy has used Massachusetts for his model. In 2006 the state became the first to require all residents to have health insurance. "Patients and health professionals, business leaders and community advocates, members of the Democratic State legislature and Republican Governor Romney all rolled up their sleeves and worked together to enact a state health plan that put aside ideology and partisan divisions for the greater common good; affordable, accessible health care coverage for all the citizens of our Commonwealth," he said in a recent address. He put emphasis on the bipartisan effeort between the Democratic legislature and Republican governor.

California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has set a goal for universal healthcare in his state. It would become the second state to have such a program.

Kennedy has been a longtime advocate for the "little guy". He has been trying for years to increase the nation's minimum wage, and it is finally going to become a reality with the new Democratic congress. Now it is time for all those without health insurance to have it. "Members of the House and Senate have a guaranteed health plan for ourselves and our families. It's time to provide the same guarantee for every man, woman and child in the nation," he said. Rising healthcare costs have been a burden on low income families across the U.S.

The estimated number of citizens living without insurance is staggering. "America’s failure to assure the basic human right to health care to all its citizens was one of the great public policy failures of the 20th century. Recent data emphasizes the urgency of redressing this failure. Forty-six million Americans are uninsured, and the most recent Census Bureau figures show that the number of uninsured increased by nearly one million Americans in 2005 alone," Kennedy said.

The United States is the last First World country not to implement a universal healthcare system.

Text of Kennedy's Address

My Opinion: 46,000,000 Americans are living without health insurance. That is simply disgusting and unacceptable. The preamble of the Constitution states "promote the general welfare". I understand that to mean that the government is supposed to ensure the welfare of it's citizens. Universal healthcare will do just that. The United States should've been one of the first nation's to have such a system. However, it is embarassingly, the last of the world's leading countries.

Hopefully, the newly elected Democratic congress can work with their Republican counterparts and get this important legislation passed in the not to distant future. It should not be a state by state matter, the federal government needs to take the lead.


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