Monday, July 31, 2006

Kerry proposes universal coverage by 2012

As a recently uninsured person, I have a new appreciation for how important health care is. I have catastrophic coverage to protect against anything major, but I am paying out of my own pocket and will probably put off any regularly scheduled preventative trips to the doctor until I can regain employee sponsored coverage. Hopefully this is only temporary, and I remain healthy during this period, but now I understand the dilemma facing millions of American families. It’s not right.

Kerry is leading on this issue within his own party and clearly ahead of the Republican party on this important issue. -IFK Editor

Read full text: Kerry proposes universal coverage by 2012

BOSTON - Sen. John Kerry on Monday proposed requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2012, "with the federal government guaranteeing that they have the means to afford it."

The Massachusetts Democrat, whose name is figuring prominently in 2008 White House speculation, repeated his 2004 presidential campaign call for expanding the federal Medicaid program to cover children. He also proposed creating a program to cover catastrophic cases so an employer providing insurance doesn't have to pass the cost to his other workers, and; offering Americans the ability to buy into the same insurance program used by federal workers such as members of Congress.

Kerry proposes to pay for the program by repealing tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration that benefit those earning over $200,000 annually. He did not immediately elaborate on how he would enact his insurance mandate, but one aid said he would do so with a requirement written into the legislation spelling out that the government covers anyone who is uninsured.

"One of my biggest regrets is that fear talk trumped the health care walk, and that we are less safe abroad and less healthy at home because of that," Kerry told a crowd of several hundred during a midday speech at Faneuil Hall. The senator had previously delivered two other speeches at the Revolutionary War meeting house laying the ground work for a second presidential campaign.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem Cell Debate - Kerry is Right

In an Op Ed John Kerry clearly outlined why the debate on stem cells is a false debate between pro-life and science. Life saving research can be done in a moral way that lives up to our high values. See his text below. Readers may also want to learn more about Stem Cell Research and the newly formed National Stem Cell Bank. -IFK Editor

Text From Kerry's Stem Cell Op Ed

I’ll never forget almost two years ago standing in Winnacunnet High School’s gymnasium in Hampton — talking with people from across New Hampshire who believed in the promise of stem cell research to find cures and save lives. Many in wheelchairs, many who had lost loved ones to disease, and many who knew a cure wouldn’t come in time for them but could save others wanted leadership that fought for them back in Washington.

One woman stood up, her frail body shaking, and pleaded for her government to embrace stem-cell research. It was the moral clarity of her message that will stay with me forever. “It’s too late for me,” she said, “but we need to do this for those who still have hope.”

I have not forgotten the look in her eyes, or my promise to her and so many others.

That’s why I am so troubled that the president’s political adviser, Karl Rove, has announced that President Bush is threatening to use the veto pen for the first time in his presidency to strike down a stem-cell research bill that offers hope to millions of Americans suffering from devastating illnesses.

President Bush has signed 1,163 bills into law without vetoing a single one of them. A veto now would send a message to all Americans that, on crucial issues, our differences are greater than our shared convictions. It would tell the world that America no longer wants to be the country that pushes the envelope of scientific knowledge and discovery.

Congress has taken the politics out of stem-cell research. It’s time the White House does, too.

What a tragedy it would be if the first veto of Bush’s presidency were used to make a political wedge of something that Washington and the rest of America overwhelmingly support - regardless of their political party - and a promise that offers hope to millions and could put American on the path to leading the world in the discovery of cures.

The issue of stem-cell research is deeply personal and raises profound moral questions. But people of goodwill and good sense can resolve these complex ethical issues without stopping lifesaving research. Growing numbers of conservatives have looked at the scientific facts and searched their own consciences in realizing that opposing this groundbreaking research isn’t a “pro-life policy,” that an ethical consensus can be found to ban human cloning while protecting stem-cell research. The House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation, and as early as this week the Senate is poised to pass groundbreaking stem-cell legislation, with the support of Republicans like John McCain, R-Ariz., Bill Frist, R-Tenn., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Nancy Reagan.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Right now, more than 100 million Americans – more than 600,000 right here in New Hampshire – suffer from illnesses that may one day be treated or cured with stem-cell therapy. Stem cells could replace damaged heart cells or cells destroyed by cancer, offering a new lease on life to those with a diagnosis that once came with a death sentence. Research has the potential to slow the loss of a grandmother’s memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson’s, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from a wheelchair.

Some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are now right at our fingertips, but because of politics they could remain beyond reach. Every day we wait, more than 3,000 Americans die from diseases that may someday be treatable because of stem-cell research. Instead of facing the facts, this Administration seems prepared to continue arguing that supporting stem cell research gives the American people false hope. Imagine if we’d told researchers studying polio that they were creating false hope. Imagine if we’d told those working to eradicate small pox that they were creating false hope. It’s unthinkable.

Americans have been presented with a false choice between the sanctity of human life and the scientific knowledge that can save it. The president’s veto rests on the false assumption that we have to choose between our dreams and our principles. We can have both.

We can support our scientists, help the sick and ensure that our legal and ethical boundaries reflect our unshakable sense of human dignity.

I’ll never forget that woman who told me ‘it was too late for her’, but not too late for millions of others. Nearly two years later, it’s still not too late for this President to change his mind before tying the hands of doctors and ethicists with a veto. It’s not too late to give millions of Americans what they want most of all: hope.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Republicans: the Party of Infidelity in 2008

In 2004, during the Presidential campaign and about the time Kerry was wrapping up his party's nomination, there was a brief rumor on the internet that Kerry had an affair with an intern. It was quickly debunked and any respectable publication didn't even mention it, however that didn't stop the republican slime machine (the drudge report and numerous blogs) from promoting it as fact.

With that in mind I can't wait to see how the media covers the potential list of leading Republican candidates for the 2008 Presidential election. The Washington Monthly fires the first shot with its article entitled "High Infidelity", describing the liabilities of several GOPers and rehashing old Clinton bedroom politics.

Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

While I believe the media goes too far most times in reporting private matters about candidates personal lives, in this case the issues is fair game in my book, since the Republicans claim to be the morally superior party and make an issue of social values. I guess I never learned that 11th commandment, "Thou shall not have affairs, unless you are a registered Republican".