August 30th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Kennedy 'expected more of us' on health care, Dodd says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Dodd said Sunday that his late friend Sen. Kennedy would be 'terribly disappointed' if partisan politics dominated the health care reform debate."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A close personal friend of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy said Sunday that the Massachusetts lawmaker’s death ought to act as an inspiration for Democrats and the entire Senate to set aside partisan differences and pass health care legislation.

“We ought to sit down together and work it out and go through this” Connecticut Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd said on CNN’s State of the Union a day after Kennedy’s funeral. “That’s what we do in the Senate. That’s how things move forward. . . . The country cannot afford this any longer. We need to have a health care plan in this country that’s accessible, affordable, and quality. And how we get there is the challenge before us. And we must meet that challenge. ”

Pointing out that Kennedy introduced his first piece of health care reform legislation roughly 40 years ago, Dodd also said that his friend would be “terribly disappointed” if partisan politics dominated the debate over fixing the nation’s health care system.

“He expected more of us and I think we can meet that expectation and I’m confident we can,” Dodd told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Related video: 'What would Teddy do?'

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, also a close friend of Kennedy’s, suggested that the partisan gulf between the two parties on health care may be too wide to bridge.

Getting a bill passed is “going to take a lot of work,” Hatch said Sunday. The Republican also said it was “crazy” to try to squeeze money out of the Medicare program in order to help fund broader health care reform including a hotly contested public health insurance option.

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Health care • Orrin Hatch • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Jane

    We are praying it won't pass. Hundreds of thousands of people across this country are praying – senior citizens, middle aged Americans. As far as we all are concerned Obama doesn't have a clue and could care less about what happens to the seniors of this country. Social security freeze for two years -ONE TERM PRESIDENT – Amen and Amen. We are saddened by the death of Kennedy (but he was a man after all) any death is a sadness and we feel compassion for his family but he is gone and we live on and are so hopeful Health Care does not pass in the form it is now in. Wew understand you will try to use him but we are not buying it. And Mrs. Pelosi we are not liars or incompetents – we are people who care about our country and the direction that Obama is leading it.

    August 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. unshrub

    It is simple what the problem is. The republicans DO NOT want any changes to the current health care system BECAUSE any changes will mean their buddies in the insurance and health care industry will NOT make as much money. And the republicans will lie, cheat, and steal in order for them to get their way.

    August 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. sunshine

    with the great reputation America has for helping other countries, why is it so hard to help all Americans have good and decent health care??

    August 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Democrats are just looking out for themselves!

    If the Dems truly wanted to do this right – and that means to the benefit of ALL AMERICANS – they would sit down with Republicans and work this out. So far, it appears that the Dems are ONLY INTERESTED in pushing an agenda that will only benefit themselves. You would have to be a very very foolish person to believe that the Dems are looking out for anybody but themselves. WAKE UP! Those who support the Dems like it's their favorite sports team. Change we can believe in does not mean pushing your own agenda to the sole benefit of one party. That's just the same ole thing to me!

    August 30, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. katiec

    I was hoping that just maybe with the speeches yesterday on how politics used to work, the politicians working together for the betterment of our country, some of those who will not support or
    agree on anything concerning our welfare would feel a sense of
    guilt. But, it appears the party of no is so imbedded in party first,
    win at any cost, do anything no matter how dishonorable to destroy,
    ensure their big business remains in control. sacrifice the American people in the process will remain their goals.
    How sad that a political party has allowed theirselves to stoop
    to this level.

    August 30, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. AustHall

    We are praying and working that health care reform does pass. It is crazy that the USA is the only industrialized nation without national health care coverage for its citizens. Obama was elected on the platform of USA Healthcare Reform because that is what a majority of Americans want.

    "Jane" your side lost the election get over it because MILLIONS of Americans voted for and want health care reform

    August 30, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. johnrj08

    "Partisan gulf" is right. It is purely partisan. This is the influence of the RNC and nothing else. The GOP is petrified by the idea of handing this president such an enormous political victory as health care reform. So it will say and do anything it can to undermine the process. The lies that have been unleashed about the reform proposals currently under consideration in Congress have exhibited a new low in American politics.

    August 30, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Bertha

    I wish for once that our politicians would put aside their personal interests and think of the people who elected them. As elected officials, are you saying that you don't have the intellectual ability to form a health care plan that is actually workable and that provides health care for all people? If you can't handle the job, I suggest that we as Americans vote
    all of you out and start over.

    August 30, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Joan

    Senator Kennedy was passionate about getting universal health care for everyone. From his many speeches and comments, it was obvious that he felt a public option was necessary for reform to have any meaning and success. Since he has been following health care for forty years and perhaps knew more about the issue than any other politician in Washington, how can his Republican "friends" and the Blue Dog Democrats continue to discredit his opinion and knowlege of the debate? He must have been so disappointed when he watched the town halls and heard the outrageous claims regarding death panels, socialism, etc. put out by the right. If it is true that the Congress put over a hundred Republican suggestions in their bills and then they turned around and everyone voted NO anyway, then that shows they are not at all interested in bi-partisanship. They want it to fail. Plain and simple.

    August 30, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. molly

    Elections have consequences and the people have given an overwhelming mandate. The 20 percenters aside, the will of the people could not be more clear. We want real health care reform, and we want it now. Teddy knew it was time. And it is. Health care reform now!

    August 30, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Gayle

    Well, we are praying that it will pass. All these scare tactics, lies and fear mongering which were created by talk show hosts and others is the reason why this thing cannot get going. I know America has more intelligence than that. One would have look to the Forum here in Los Angeles where over a thousand people needed health care and many turned away. If people claim that they "Want their America Back" should have looked at that picture and had compassion for those people. And BTW, Ted had compassion for all those people and never became judge or jury. This bill will not kill "Grandma" as these people is leading you all to believe.
    This bill needs to pass for all Americans.

    August 30, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Hayden

    Now we can expect the Dems to try to ram Obamacare down our throats saying they are doing it for Edward Kennedy. The last time legislation was rammed through Congress based on emotion it was the Patriot Act. We don't need any more of that.

    August 30, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. johnrj08

    Everybody should read "Jane's" comment here. It exemplifies the gullibility and ignorance of many people in this country who have bought, lock-stock-and-barrel, the lies that have been perpetrated by the insurance industry and bigoted conservatives who hate this president. The suggestion that seniors are praying that health care reform will fail is monumentally preposterous, considering that their health care system, Medicare, will collapse unless there is significant reform. These are people who see the "government" as somehow alien to themselves, driven by nefarious motives and evil intent, when the reality is that the people who would be administering the public option would be American citizens just like them. But they have believed the propaganda because they never wanted a black president in the first place. Greed and bigotry are the forces against health care reform. Amen and Amen.

    August 30, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Patricia

    I would liketo respond to Jane. Do you even know what form the Health Care Bill is in? There is no health care bill as it is constructed at this time. What President Obama and others like him (The Late Senator Kennedy) are trying to do is make sure that all Americans have a right to health care. It is people like you that do not care about anyone but self that will destroy this country. I do not wish evil on anyone, but for people like unthinkable things such as not being able to provide the basic needs for your family has to happen for you to care about someone other than self. Some people never learn to be their Brother's keeper because they are basically selfish and self centered.

    August 30, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Darla

    Jane, you and your ilk do not care about this country. You only care about certain people in the country. Only the ones who think, act and look as you do. Whether you can swallow that truth or not is on you, but THAT is what the Republican party is all about.

    Also, it bears stating that WHENEVER a democratic president is elected, the other side goes nuts and does whatever possible to discredit them or outright remove them from office. They are not patriots. Do not believe it. A democratically elected president is not something they can swallow unless the guy is for their team.

    As Kennedy said, it is a right, not a privelege no matter what Glen Beck told you.

    August 30, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Anonymous

    It is amazing how the republican oppositions have so much to say against the president but had nothing to say over the pass 8 years in office.

    August 30, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. vic nashville , Tn

    This year we will pass kennedy Health Care reform

    I from Tennessee Our Sen. Bob Corker opposing the health care BILL

    From Tennessean 29th August 2009 Sen. Bob Corker and His family reported net assets totaling $17.1 Million and $87.6 Million

    He had town hall meeting last week at county club he doesn’t want know why need health care reform

    He is rich so he oppose health care bill

    He is republican so he oppose the health care bill

    Wake up America we work hard kennedy always fight for us we will support the bill

    August 30, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. DEMONcrats are RATS

    I agree with Jane. The battle is for nothing other than the soul of this country. We will allow the DEMONcrats, a cowardly group of race-baiters, socialists, and abortionists, remake this country in the image of Europe? Or are we still the shining city on the Hill, a land of opportunity and not crushing debt?

    August 30, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Jim Doyle

    Senator Kennedy had written a piece of legislation that would gradually offer Medicare to all, by lowering the age of eligibility in increments. It's a simple, elegant solution which will lead to single payer Healthcare for everyone in this country. Insurance companies will go the way of the dinosaur.

    And Jane, you may be praying it won't pass, but actually it's you who doesn't have a clue. I'm sure you aren't all liars or incompetents, but you've been lied to so much you don't have any idea what's going on. You and people like you are being manipulated by the Insurance Companies, who are scared to death of losing their cash cow. They're making billions of dollars by denying people coverage, so they tell you how Obamacare will sentence you to early death. They're lying to you. Can't you see that?

    August 30, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Dennis

    Something about Senator Dodd's service on the Senate Banking Committee makes me want to flick boogers at a TV set every time he's on the screen. He's the one responsible for having to pay to cash a check at the same bank the check is written on. How about pleasing, for once, the American people instead of asking what Teddy would do? I suppose summoning Kennedy ghosts in order to pass legislation isn't a new thing–but I really hope it doesn't work because we just can't afford it right now. Also, I seriously doubt Dodd has actually read the legislation he supports.

    August 30, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Valerie, NYC

    The current health care system has DEATH PANELS that cause 18,000 deaths a year. (today's article in the NY times)

    The GOP is trying to hurt granny because they are FOR death panels that currently exist and don't want it to change.

    August 30, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. steve

    The anti-reform crowd, Republican party and the insurance company are deceiving the American people by making them focus on non-existence Abortion coverage, illegal immigrant coverage, and non-existence death panel as a smoke screen not reform health care.
    Look at the way American people were duped into Iraq war with lies and deception.
    American people should wake up to reality.

    August 30, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Grosser Hund

    Is there nothing the Democrats won't do to try to force the American people to roll over and play dead for a health plan that the polls clearly state they reject? Healthcare was his signature cause, but Kennedy's politics were, on occasion, of the dirtiest kind. His fingerprints are found on legislation that has done much good for many people across various strata. Citizens of Massachusetts and Democrats in general no doubt mourn his passing. But to climb atop the casket of "Saint Teddy", wave the flag and attempt to guilt people into accepting Obamacare because they have lost their champion and (temporarily, at least) a Senate seat is contemptible. Politics as usual in Washington, but this reaches a new low.

    August 30, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Jean

    We pray healthcare passes. We pay $1000 plus per mo and cant do it anymore. Then what? The avg family needs help. And i just lost my job. My husbands pay cut 60%. How can those who have had the benefit of medicare say it doesnt work? We need help!

    August 30, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Butch Dillon

    "Working it out" with the republicans seems to imply that bipartisanship is possible. Guess again! It is not! The republicans do not want health care reform and the democrats like Dodd and Kerry who want to compromise away the truly reform oriented components of any bill are leaders not to trust. The tougher minded democrats have to seize control of the debate and the legislative effort ,and jam the right bill down the throats of the republicans.

    August 30, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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