Seventh Term 1995–2000
“I believe securing quality, affordable health insurance for every American is a matter of simple justice.”
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Working across the aisle with Senator Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), Senator Kennedy co-sponsored legislation that protected health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Best known for its privacy provisions surrounding electronic medical records, HIPAA was part of Senator Kennedy’s efforts to keep health insurance reform moving forward after the collapse of President Clinton’s universal coverage effort by refocusing on a smaller initiative with bipartisan backing.
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program of 1997 (CHIP)
- After the failure of President Clinton’s universal coverage bill, Senator Kennedy chose to move forward by focusing on health coverage for children. He and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reached agreement, after extensive negotiations, to create a new program for children from families whose modest incomes were too high to qualify for Medicaid. The bill passed as part of the Balanced Budget Amendment, and was funded in part by a cigarette tax increase. A decade after enactment, over seven million children were enrolled in CHIP, which was reauthorized and expanded in 2009 to cover four million additional children.
- Supporting the Food and Drug Administration
- Beginning in 1996, Senator Kennedy led the battle against changes in the FDA that would have stripped its oversight of drugs and medical devices. In 1997, he helped broker compromise to pass the FDA Modernization Act, enabling new drugs/medical devices to be brought to market safely while preserving the FDAs obligation to protect the public.
- Doubling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget
- As a longtime champion of biomedical research, Senator Kennedy was the sponsor of the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 and its Reauthorization in 2003. The law supported NIH research activities studying several diseases including AIDS, cancer, bone disease, and infertility. The Senator’s commitment to increasing NIH research funding paid off when Congress approved doubling the NIH budget from $13.6 billion to $27 billion between FY 1998 – FY 2003.