Last December (2008), the Physicians for Human Rights presented Senator Kennedy with an Outstanding Leadership Award on the Right to Health. Last night PHR issued the following statement:
In our lifetime, no one has done more to champion health as a universal right than Senator Ted Kennedy. He was a passionate advocate for quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for the many, not just for the few, and a tireless champion of the human rights of all people everywhere. During his career spanning five decades, he passed landmark legislation to secure the right to health for all.
A Lifetime of Leadership on the Right to Health
* In 1966, Senator Kennedy created a national health center system.
* In 1972, he became Chairman of the Senate Health Subcommittee, enhancing his ability to champion the cause of quality health care for all Americans.
* Another priority for Senator Kennedy was the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program. This program, popularly known as WIC, offers food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services for low-income women, infants, and children.
* He became a champion of the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata, which called on the international community, and all health and development workers, to protect and promote the health of all people of the world.
* Senator Kennedy authored the Refugee Act of 1980, which established a comprehensive U.S. policy to provide humanitarian assistance, admission and resettlement to refugees around the world.
* In 1990, Senator Kennedy introduced, along with Senator Hatch, the groundbreaking Ryan White CARE Act, which provided emergency relief to the thirteen cities hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic, and also provided substantial assistance to all states to develop effective and cost-efficient AIDS care programs, aimed particularly at early diagnosis and home care.
* In 1994, as Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, Senator Kennedy worked closely with President Clinton to expand opportunity for working families. His leadership brought about the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
* In 1997, as Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, Senator Kennedy worked closely with President Clinton to expand opportunity for working families. His leadership brought about the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
* In 2006, Senator Kennedy sponsored and helped pass the Family Opportunity Act, which provided states the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to children with special needs, allowing low- and middle-income families with disabled children the ability to purchase coverage under the Medicaid program.
* In 2007, he sponsored the Health Care Safety Net Act of 2007.
* So deep was Senator Kennedy's commitment to the highest attainable standard of health, that on July 9, 2008, while recovering from brain surgery, he made a surprise trip to Capitol Hill. There he cast a critical vote to secure healthcare coverage for senior citizens.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.