Earlier in the year, Congressman Joseph Kennedy III gave a viral speech in the House of Representatives that criticized and shamed House Speaker Paul Ryan for Ryan’s religious hypocrisy and for putting forth a heartless health plan. The following day, Kennedy delivered again.

That plan was revised and worsened by House Republicans, and has been opposed by countless medial associations, patient advocates, and the American people, all of which were ignored by the GOP. Without public hearings, the new AHCA plan, also called Trumpcare, was put to a rushed vote on May 4, 2017. It passed and is heading to the Senate.

Kennedy once again spoke his mind about the cold realities and viciousness of the revised plan that has been called an “abomination” and a plan that is “indifferent to human suffering.”

In his short speech under one minute, Kennedy exudes that same opinion in his own words, with compassion that’s pleasantly reminiscent of those by his grandfather Senator Robert F. Kennedy and his great uncles former President John F. Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy. His father Joe Kennedy II was also a lawmaker in Congress. With or without his family’s political legacy, Congressman Joe Kennedy III holds his own.

Here is the video of Joe Kennedy’s speech followed by the transcript.


What this legislation does on its surface is very clear. It makes healthcare more expensive. And the more you need it — the sicker or older or poorer you are, the further out of reach it will be.

Doctors and hospitals and nurses and the mental health community and patients have spoken up and spoken out against this bill.

But this bill doesn’t just cut coverage and hike premiums, all for a tax cut for the wealthy. It codifies a world view by this administration that is dead set on dividing America among the lines of the god of your prayers, who you love, where you come from, or your fate and fortune. We see it in their tax plan, in their budget cuts, in immigration policy, and now, in healthcare.

In a world view that scapegoats the struggling and the suffering, that sees fault in illness, that rejects the most basic universal truth of the human existence — that every single one of us, one day, will be brought to our knees by a diagnosis we didn’t expect, a phone call we can’t imagine, and a loss we cannot endure.

So we take care of each other. Because, but for the grace of God there go I one day. And we hope that we will be shown that mercy too. It is the ultimate test of the character of this country confronting our chamber today — not the power we give the strong, but the strength in which we embrace the weak.

The same week, Kennedy made another speech on healthcare to crowd of Americans gathered outside in Washington DC. Here is an excerpt from that speech.

Health care is our ultimate equalizer. No matter your power or privilege, we will all wake up one day in need of a little mercy. Trumpcare rejects that common humanity and continues the Administration’s calculated attempt to divide up our nation based on fate, fortune and difference. It creates one system for the powerful and another for the poor, one set of rules for the strong and another for the suffering.

If there is any silver lining to this vote it is that the American people are engaged, awake and on notice like never before. It is a long road to the President’s desk. We will be fighting every step of the way.

Thank you, Congressman Kennedy. 

“… every single one of us, one day, will be brought to our knees by a diagnosis we didn’t expect, a phone call we can’t imagine, and a loss we cannot endure.” — Congressman Joe Kennedy III

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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