Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fwd: qotd: Sen. Mark Kirk's lesson for us

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Subject: qotd: Sen. Mark Kirk's lesson for us
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 14:23:15 -0800
From: Don McCanne <>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <>

The Hill
January 3, 2013
Sen. Kirk returns to Senate after year-long recovery from stroke
By Emily Goodin

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) returned to the Senate on Thursday after nearly
a year's absence.

Kirk, who had a stroke in January 2012, walked up the Capitol steps
holding a cane and with the help of Vice President Biden and Sen. Joe
Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Cheers rang out as Kirk began his climb. He walked into the Capitol
shortly before noon, when the 113th Congress was gaveled into session.


Chicago Sun-Times
January 2, 2013
Sen. Mark Kirk's message to stroke victims: 'Don't give up'
By Natahsa Korecki

(Sen. Mark Kirk) spoke with the Sun-Times in a sit-down interview in the
U.S. Capitol one day before he plans his dramatic climb up the Capitol
steps. He offered a new perspective on the Illinois Medicaid program and
what it offers to those with low incomes.

He does plan to take a closer look at funding of the Illinois Medicaid
program for those with no income who suffer a stroke, he said. In
general, a person on Medicaid in Illinois would be allowed 11 rehab
visits, he said.

"Had I been limited to that, I would have had no chance to recover like
I did," Kirk said. "So unlike before suffering the stroke, I'm much more
focused on Medicaid and what my fellow citizens face."

Kirk has the same federal health-care coverage available to other
federal employees. He has incurred major out-of-pocket expenses, which
have affected his savings and retirement, sources familiar with Kirk's
situation said.

Comment: It was quite moving watching the live C-SPAN broadcast of Sen.
Mark Kirk today, climbing the Capitol steps to the resounding ovation
given to him by his colleagues in the Senate. After his severely
debilitating stroke, his message to other stroke victims is, "Don't give
up," and he didn't.

He has had a year to think about stroke victims on Medicaid in Illinois
and what the limit of a total of eleven rehabilitation visits must mean
to them. This is clearly an inhumane public policy that must be changed.

But what about all of the other patients with major medical problems who
do not get the care that they need because they are uninsured, or
Medicaid doesn't provide adequate access, or private insurance...

What about private insurance? Sen. Kirk has coverage through the Federal
Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) - a menu of private health
plans. That is about as good coverage as you can get today, yet with the
major out-of-pocket expenses, it has not protected his savings and

We have a much bigger problem in health care other than simply trying to
figure out how we can get Medicaid patients adequate rehabilitative
services after a stroke.

If only Sen. Kirk's colleagues in the Senate and House could learn from
his travails. They might begin to consider that we really do need a
comprehensive health care system that takes care of all of us - an
Improved Medicare for All.

In the battle for reform, remember Sen. Kirk's words, "Don't give up."

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