Health care activist Patrick Kennedy got over four minutes on CNN prime-time to air his glee over ObamaCare being upheld on Thursday. Host Piers Morgan simply let the former Democratic congressman expound on his father Ted Kennedy's fight for health care and praise the Supreme Court decision.
CNN is no stranger to the Kennedys, having lauded Ted Kennedy as "American royalty" and given his son Patrick an exclusive one-hour special on his struggle with alcoholism and "a new beginning." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Morgan gave the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) a fond introduction, airing a clip of Nancy Pelosi eulogizing his fight for health care. "I knew that when he left us, he would go to heaven and help pass the bill and now I know he was busily at work until this decision came down, inspiring one way or another," Pelosi gushed.
"Patrick, how do you think your father would have felt today?" Morgan asked his first softball question.
The second, and last, question, was simply "Were you shocked that Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts, was the deciding vote today?" Kennedy went on to say many will "sleep a little bit better" now that the law has been upheld.
"And I think the Supreme Court upheld really the truest vision of what is in the best interest of this country today," Kennedy gushed.
A transcript of the interview, which aired on June 28 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:12 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Patrick Kennedy is a former congressman. A health care activist. And of course the son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who called universal health care the cause of his life. Listen to what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said today about the senator.
Rep. NANCY PELOSI (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader: He called it the great unfinished business of our country, of our society. I knew that when he left us, he would go to heaven and help pass the bill and now I know he was busily at work until this decision came down, inspiring one way or another. And now he can rest in peace.
(End Video Clip)
MORGAN: I'm joined now by Patrick Kennedy. Patrick, how do you think your father would have felt today?
PATRICK KENNEDY (D), former U.S. representative: Well, I think he would have been thrilled that not just members of Congress have guaranteed health care anymore but that all the constituents that elected them now have access to health care that members of Congress are fully happy to have.
My father saw it as simply a matter of hypocrisy that these people who are criticizing health care take government funded health care themselves. And he just thought it was a matter of fairness. And he thought it was a moral issue. It was about whether we wanted to treat others the way we ourselves would want to be treated. And I recall that what made him really so passionate about this was when my brother Ted had bone cancer and my father and mother had to worry about whether he was going to survive.
But they didn't have to worry about whether they could pay for him to get the health care he needed. But they saw other families go through the heartache of not only hoping that their loved one got better but they were worried about being bankrupted in the process. And I think that's what rubbed my father so against his sense of compassion and social justice, and it's what fueled his effort to fight for this, for his whole lifetime.
And keep in mind, Piers, he worked with Senator Hatch. Of course he did work with then-Governor Romney in Massachusetts. He was always anxious to work across party lines because he really felt this was in the best interest of the nation. And I think that it is in the best interest of the nation, as much as it's a polarizing issue right now as Governor Patrick said earlier.
I think everybody will benefit because that you get the efficiencies of having everybody in the system, in which case you can really implement prevention and population-based health care, which today we don't have a health care system. We have a sick care system which means people only get care when they get sick. And that's not really both cost effective. And it's certainly not humane if we – if we look at the system as it is today.
MORGAN: Were you shocked that Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts, was the deciding vote today?
KENNEDY: I was shocked that he was just the deciding vote. And that Kennedy also didn't join him. It was obviously something that was a lot of commentary. But process is what it is. At the end of the day, I think it's individual families who get stuck in jobs. Who don't want to change jobs because they're worried about losing their health care. Or who are really on the margins. Who are trying to get health insurance but can't because of a pre-existing condition.
All of those families are going to sleep a little bit better knowing that in the future this is one less worry. Now I understand, you know, my former colleague, Rick Santorum before me said, that you know people are going to be -- you know, have this worry about government-run this. Well, I mean, it was the insurance industry that's unregulated that was running people's health care lives before.
And I don't know how many people feel really good about HMOs. That as much as they paid for their premiums whenever they needed health care, insurance companies' business model was to say "no." And I think that's the real issue here. It's not a question of, you know, whether people are going to pay, because they're paying already for health premiums. And those health premiums are going up.
What this is about is let's get people the coverage that they're paying for. And right now, it's about government stepping in and making sure that insurance companies aren't going to continue to profit off of other people's misfortune. And when they need health care, denying them that health care because that's how they make a profit.
I salute the President for standing up for the – really, the largest mass of American people who, you know -- who are worried every day about getting sick because they're worried about it bankrupting them. President Obama didn't have to worry about health care. My dad never had to worry about health care. Mitt Romney doesn't have to worry about health care. It's the average American who's worried because they're worried about a catastrophic illness putting them in the poor house.
And I think that's not American. And I think the Supreme Court upheld really the truest vision of what is in the best interest of this country today.
MORGAN: Patrick Kennedy, thank you very much indeed.