It's doubtful a father and son participating in a healthcare conference would have inspired Norman Rockwell, but Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) credits his father, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), for planting the seeds of the son's healthcare agenda. "When I was growing up, my father took me all across the country attending healthcare conferences," Kennedy says.
Now Patrick has followed in his dad's footsteps by working on healthcare initiatives in Congress. However, while the elder Kennedy has enjoyed incremental success with healthcare legislation, Patrick says he hopes to make more far-reaching progress. "Our system is broken," he says. "We need systematic change."
Kennedy endorses ideas that promote preventive care and awarding providers for making quality improvements. He sees information technology as playing a vital role in the improvement of the system and suggests incentives for primary-care physicians to invest in electronic medical records.