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John Kerry: Standing for Something

by Pamela Leavey

Following his speech on healthcare today, John Kerry posted a piece on the Huffington Post entitled “Standing for Something.” Well if there is an issue worth standing for on the domestic front, I couldn’t think of one better than healthcare.

Kerry fought hard for a health care plan that he believed in when he ran for President. He says on the HuffPo, “One of my biggest disappointments about losing the election was that we couldn’t send our health care plan to Congress in the first 100 Days of a Democratic Administration.”

The learning gained from getting knocked on your ass in defeat is not my favorite way to gain insight and knowledge but it is an event in life that sticks with you. You are forced to confront your shortcomings, you have to figure out what you did wrong, you have to listen and you have to commit yourself to change. In defeat you also learn what really matters to you. And in defeat I was reminded that as lousy as it felt to lose, life’s a hell of a lot harder for the working father who wakes up every day without health care for his kids. Life’s a lot harder for the mom who is afraid to let her kids go outside to play in case they get hurt and she ends up with a medical bill she can’t handle. So no matter what anyone thinks, I thought I had an obligation to dust myself off and fight for those families again.

Yes, it bothers me that two years later this president and his party still have nothing to offer on health care other than a Medicare prescription drug plan that has turned out to be an unfolding disaster for seniors and a massive give-away to the big drug companies. Every single day since Election Day, the health care crisis has grown steadily worse. The President has stuck to his guns–or his empty holster–and done nothing beyond trotting out the conservative hobby-horse of health savings accounts. What an insult to Americans whose wages have shrunk much so they can’t save at all. Americans who need more than the empty promise of an account they can never create with money they can’t save for health care they can’t afford.

So, I’m sticking to my guns as well. It is time to jump-start a debate around the country that can shake Washington into action before the health care crisis devastates millions more of America’s families–and hollows out America’s economy.

Here’s a list of the four principles that Kerry says are his “bottom line” – they are “four principles he’s willing to go to the mat to make real”…

FIRST – Every American, and I mean everybody, must have health coverage by 2012.

SECOND – To get there, we start with kids first. They’re born; they’re enrolled in health care. They go to child care, they’re enrolled. They go to school, they’re enrolled. No “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts,” every child gets health care – automatically, immediately, every child in America gets health care now.

THIRD – We must and will control the skyrocketing premiums, co-pays, and exclusions that make a mockery of the insurance hard-working families pay for month after month. No longer will families be pushed into bankruptcy by medical bills they can’t pay — no longer will sons and daughters have to choose between paying for a doctor’s bill for one child or college tuition for another — it is time to finally guarantee that as health care costs are held down, Americans get the health care they need and deserve.

FOURTH – and finally, instead of telling tens of millions to wait until they are sick enough to go to an emergency room, we must and will assure high quality and preventive care for every American.

We’ve [progressives] got some “big tests right now,” Kerry says…

what are we doing to deal with the mess in Iraq? What are we doing to prevent global catastrophe threatened by climate change? And what are we doing to make our country fair again? Add one to the list: what are you willing to fight for to make health care work for everyone?

“It’s time to get tough – and it’s time to get real.” Yes, indeed it is. Americans can’t sit around and wait for the Republicans to figure out that the healthcare crisis in this country is real, just like global warming. We need a plan and we need a plan that will work. John Kerry is the man with the plan, in my book.

2 Responses to “John Kerry: Standing for Something”

  1. I left a comment on his blog about why I hope his plan succeeds. I have been personally affected by health care inadequacies and so I hope he can succeed in this battle.

    On a side-note, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many positive comments. More and more, with each new HuffPo entry, he seems to be earning the respect of his readers. At first, John was considerably flamed, but now he’s becoming admired – as he should be.

  2. Andy,

    JK is going to be heavily analyzed and used as an example of how to do things right – like coming back from a defeat. 🙂