During more than 40 years on Capitol Hill, Sen. Edward Kennedy has sponsored or strongly influenced a raft of healthcare bills. First elected to the Senate in 1962, the Massachusetts Democrat
has been credited with helping create the Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1985, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The American Public Health Association has rated him 100% on its issues and concerns (See related items, pp. 18 and 36).
In recent years, Kennedy has sponsored the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 for nursing education; voted in favor of allowing re-importation of drugs from Canada; initially favored authorizing $400 billion over 10 years for the Medicare drug benefit; and supported negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drugs. The latter failed in the GOP-controlled Congress, and
Kennedy attempted to filibuster the final compromise legislation.
A supporter of the failed Clinton administration healthcare initiative
of 1993-94, Kennedy continues to push universal healthcare for the
benefit of the nation's more than 45 million uninsured.