Thursday, July 10, 2008

TK is teh osm

I am really proud to have Ted Kennedy as my (former? native?) senator right now. Yes, I know, shady events in the past, yada yada, but the man has been an amazing advocate for health care throughout his career.

Despite his recent brain cancer diagnosis and current treatment, he flew into Washington against doctors' advice IN SECRET to be the 60th vote (meaning no more filibusters) on a really important Medicare bill. Basically, Medicare was scheduled to cut the pay of doctors who practice under the program, which would have led to disastrous cuts and reductions in Medicare care. The Democrats had sponsored a bill canceling the cut, allowing doctors to continue at current rates. It passed the house and got filibustered by Republicans in the Senate (seriously, is there ANYBODY whose lives the Republicans care about besides fetuses?). The American Medical Association has been going nuts about this, running ads and targeting Congresspeople while the government postponed the cut to give the Senate time to work something out.

Kennedy, who has been out from work lately due to, you know, a brain tumor, flew in in a move that was fabulously sneaky (read the link for details) to be vote number 60 to invalidate the filibuster. When Republicans saw they were beaten, 9 of them switched their votes (cute). The response of Senators from both parties to Kennedy's appearance, as well as the description of his entrance and his statement, honestly made me get a bit teary-eyed.

One of the last great statesmen in Congress, as far as I can see. Chris Dodd is definitely another, for the record.

Oh, and since I didn't mention it, Congress passed the FISA bill and we're all fucked. Just a heads up.

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