"This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver — to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, "that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American ... will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege." For four decades I have carried this cause — from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has
more meaning for me — and more urgency — than ever before. But it's always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.