Sen. Kirk: As the Senate prepared to vote…, my memory flashed back to my days as a young staffer working for Sen. Ted Kennedy…

Senator Paul Kirk has published his reflections on voting on health care reform. He cast his vote Saturday from Senator Kennedy’s desk, and it surely weighed on him:

Kennedy’s voice, his energy and his unique legislative skills are deeply missed as the Senate prepares, at long last, to act on this historic legislation. But I believe we should be mindful of his spirit and his commitment to this cause as the debate goes forward. Now is the time to pass health care reform and fulfill what he called “the cause of his life” for all Americans…..

Inaction is not an option. To accept the status quo is to fall further behind. The quality of life, especially for seniors, for people with disabilities and for middle-class families, hangs in the balance. The cost of health care is now a burden that is far too heavy for the American people and for our economy. Too many of our seniors must pay out of pocket for expensive prescription drugs, too many parents stay up at night worrying that they will not be able to afford care for their children, and too many youths graduate from college and find themselves without health insurance.

Now is not the time for partisan games and the arguments of the past. I think often about how Kennedy, never ashamed of his liberal label, would set aside ideology and find common ground for compromise if it meant that the American people would benefit. Hopefully this will be a time when a solid majority of senators find a way to come together to repair our flawed health care system and make it capable of bringing quality, affordable health care to all Americans.

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