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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 31, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Ted Kennedy: a legacy to remember or one with too much praise?

Name public option after Kennedy

Editor, The Times:

A better suggestion to naming a health-care-reform bill in honor of Sen. Ted Kennedy [“Honor Kennedy with meaningful reform,” Opinion, editorial, Aug. 28] would be to name a true public option after him, for that is the most critical element of any reform that will extend coverage to those who lack it or lose it while bringing competition to private insurance companies to lower costs.

Kennedy twice introduced legislation to do just that. It was called “The Medicare for All Act,” and it would have opened Medicare enrollment to any citizen who wanted it as an option to private health insurance.

As for Sens. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, each of whom has claimed Kennedy as a mentor and inspiration yet neither of whom has shown a lick of support for any meaningful public health-insurance option, naming such a public option after Kennedy might finally move them to support it.

— Alex MacLeod, Shaw Island

Leave old Chappaquiddick wreck out of the picture

Was it really necessary to run that old photo [“A man some loved to loathe,” News, Aug. 30] of Ted Kennedy’s car being hauled out of the water? Didn’t he do enough during his life to try to erase that dark chapter?

Let’s get a positive outlook.

— Marilyn Brashen, Kirkland

Why the sensation over Kennedy’s passing?

Sometimes I feel like I’m in the minority about some things that just don’t make sense to me.

Take for instance the 24/7 news coverage of Ted Kennedy’s passing. I guess if I lived in Massachusetts and had benefitted financially or in other ways from the power exuded from the Kennedy clan I might understand it. But this is a guy who in 1969 drove off the road drunk into a creek and didn’t seem to care about the woman drowning inside. The only real question here is: Was it murder or was it manslaughter?

It has always amazed me how the people of Massachusetts could elect Kennedy even once let alone allow him to make a career out of his congressional seat. From what I know about his career, he did assist in reaching consensus on quite a number of political issues. I suspect he felt guilty for what he had done and well he should.

I’m trying to remember if we had three days of mourning after President Reagan’s passing. I think not.

He was only the president who brought down the Soviet Union, so how could he compare?

— Don Means, Woodinville

Kennedy’s mourners deserve to be focus of health-care debate

Watching the events surrounding the death of Ted Kennedy, I was struck by the thousands of ordinary people who came to pay their respects in a truly spontaneous fashion [“Mourners in streets remember Kennedy,” News, Aug. 30].

No one organized their visits to the Kennedy Library nor the lining of the various roads and streets in quiet dignity along the way of his funeral procession.

Why aren’t the millions of ordinary people like them the focus of the health-care debate? How in God’s name did the proportionately minuscule number of people participating in unruly protests organized especially for the town-hall meetings come to dominate the discussion?

Surely America can do better.

— Judith Frolich, Kirkland

Comments | More in Congress, Health care, Politics, Reform

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