"Members of the House and Senate have a guaranteed health plan for ourselves and our families," Kennedy said in his prepared remarks. "It's time to provide the same guarantee for every man, woman and child in the nation."
The Massachusetts Democrat said too many trends in health care are going in the wrong direction.
"Insurance coverage is down. Costs are up. And America is heading to the bottom of the league of major nations in important measures of the quality of care," he said.
Advocacy groups say they're optimistic that Congress this year will expand health insurance coverage to more Americans. They are particularly lobbying to increase funding for coverage of children living in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford the monthly health insurance premiums offered through the private sector.