Kerry calling for healthcare hearing

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) today will announce a “tremendous number” of grassroots supporters of his plan to provide health insurance to all children.

The expected announcement suggests that Kerry is keeping his vow to become a major legislative player in the Senate after his loss to President Bush in the November election. Before his presidential run, Kerry’s involvement in healthcare issues was minimal and often overshadowed by the efforts of the senior senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy (D).

Kerry e-mailed a list of supporters of his presidential campaign in January urging them to back his legislation by signing on to a petition at johnkerry.com.

In a press conference today, Kerry will call on Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to hold hearings on Kerry’s Kids Come First Act. The legislation would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid to offer health insurance to every person in the United States younger than 21.

Organizations that are participating in the press conference include Families USA, the National Association of Community Health Centers, Every Child Matters and the AFL-CIO.

Mark H. Rodeffer