RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—There was no mistaking the primary goal of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. The Massachusetts Democrat called universal health coverage the focus of his career, and continued to fight for it even after he became incapacitated with a brain tumor in 2008. However, he cared about more than just health care. Kennedy was also a firm supporter of environmental issues, and although he wasn't on any of the Senate's environment committees, "he was such a powerful force that if he was behind a piece of legislation, it definitely made a difference," says David Willett, national press secretary for the nonprofit Sierra Club. "He was an environmental champion and consistently voted for environmental protections whenever possible."
From health care reform to cleaning up toxic waste, here are five of Senator Kennedy's most notable contributions:
|#1: Affordable health care for everyone. Senator Kennedy may be best known for his efforts to create an inclusive health care system, but his contributions to the health of the American public certainly don't stop there. He led efforts in 1985 to establish the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which gives laid-off workers temporary access to employer-provided insurance and, with Orrin Hatch, in 1997, he established the Children's Health Insurance Program so uninsured children could have access to care. He was also a patient-safety advocate, sponsoring a bill that, if passed, would have provided legal protections for people willing to report medical errors; however, the bill stalled in committee.|
Published on: August 26, 2009
Updated on: March 25, 2010