Senator Ted Kennedy’s Impact on Diabetes

Senator Ted Kennedy’s Impact on Diabetes: Many mourned the recent passing of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Not surprising is the gentle anguish expressed by those who saw first hand his dedication to the eradication of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) said in a recent statement, “Senator Kennedy worked diligently to defend access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans. He was also committed to pursuing biomedical research as demonstrated by his support of stem cell research and the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Programs. Last November, the Association honored Senator Kennedy with the prestigious Public Policy Leadership Award for his unparalleled contributions in the fight to stop diabetes.”

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) said in 2000 they, “Applaud Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) for his work on legislation … that provided the largest boost for juvenile diabetes research funding in history. The legislation increased federal juvenile diabetes research funding at the National Institutes of Health from an estimated $134 million in fiscal year 2000 to approximately $220 million in fiscal year 2001, an increase of well over 60 percent.” Kennedy’s commitment to parity in medical care was a hallmark of his senatorial tenure.

Consider these statements from Kennedy’s own website …

“In 1978, Senator Kennedy cosponsored the Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments of 1978, which expanded the jurisdiction of the Civil Rights Commission to protect people from discrimination on the basis of disability. Two years later, Kennedy cosponsored the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act, which enforced the rights of people in government institutions such as the elderly, the disabled, the mental ill, and the incarcerated under the Constitution.”

“On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted into law. Introduced by Senator Kennedy and Senator Harkin, the ADA prohibited discrimination by a covered entity (employer, employment agency, labor organization, etc) against any qualified individual with a disability in job application procedures, hiring or discharge, compensation, advancement, training, etc. The law declared that no qualified individual with a disability shall be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination by a public entity, and also required accessible rail transportation and telephone services for persons with speech or hearing impairments.”

“In response the alarming level and increase in the victimization and violence against people with disabilities, Congress passed the Crime Victims and Disabilities Awareness Act of 1998. Kennedy cosponsored the bill, which directed the Attorney General to conduct a study on the issue and to include specific details regarding the crimes against people with disabilities and to include them in the National Crime Victimization Survey, an annual publication. In 2004, Kennedy was an original cosponsor of the Assistive Technology Act, which supported states in an effort to sustain and strengthen the capacity to meet the assistive technology needs of individuals. In addition, it would focus funding on investments in technology that could benefit those living with disabilities.”

Kennedy once said, “What we have in the United States is not so much a health-care system as a disease-care system.” He consistently sought to change this system. He was instrumental in the development and expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and no matter your view on his politics he is considered a leader in health care reform and equality for American’s who are differently abled.

On behalf of all who have diabetes – thanks Senator Kennedy.