Washington, D.C. An ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy is trying to lay the groundwork for a breakthrough on health care reform next year, though many believe the enormous undertaking has been made even more difficult by the troubled economy.
Kennedy, aides say, has had several video conferences with lawmakers and staff in recent months as he fights from home to overcome brain cancer. His staff has had more than a dozen meetings in recent weeks with various advocacy and interest groups that will help influence the debate.
"We're carrying it out in his absence, but this is his doing," said an aide who was not identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly. "He's in constant touch with leaders in this effort. This is Senator Kennedy at the helm." The story was first reported by The Washington Times.
Kennedy doesn't want to repeat the steps that some say doomed health care reform under former President Clinton. That means acting quickly when Congress returns to Washington after the election and the holidays.