Will Kennedy's Death Affect Health Care Reform?

Should it? Some are pushing for it, others push back.

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Ted Kennedy called health care reform the "greatest cause" of his life and his mission to see it through consumed his last years in the Senate. With Congressional debate over health care raging, will Kennedy's passing affect the politics of reform? Perhaps just as significant, would such a thing be appropriate?

  • Bipartisan Spirit  Republican colleagues in the Senate, many of whom served with Kennedy for decades, may put aside partisanship in memory of their old friend. "Orrin Hatch, and other Republicans who worked with Kennedy, might be in a more expansive mood to compromise," wrote The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder. "Kennedy would probably encourage such speculation and not find it unseemly -- so important to him was the goal of getting something done, this year, under this president."
  • Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill  That's what Anne Laurie would like to see, despite conservative objections that, as she put it, "Teddy’s death should not be used as an opportunity by crass liberals to pass the kind of serious health care reform he spent the last thirty years championing." Laurie called for supporters of reform to "twist whatever arms, ears, or other parts are necessary to get a good strong comprehensive bill passed and signed, NOW. We owe the memory of a great man no less."
  • Kennedy's Death No Free Pass  Ann Althouse cautioned that Democrats will use Kennedy's passing to push through reform despite opposition. "Teddy Kennedy's death will be used to rekindle the old argument that we need to shut up and hurry up about health care reform," she wrote. "So I assume." Althouse asked, "Is the death of Teddy Kennedy a sufficiently powerful event to counter the opposition to the health care bill?

    Stop the ACLU, a conservative blog, rounded up discussion on liberal politics message boards, much of which focused on a "Kennedy Memorial Health Care Reform Bill." Stop the ACLU concluded, "Liberals Already Using Senator Kennedy’s Passing For Their Agenda."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.