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Without Kennedy, healthcare providers fear loss of benefactor

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The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy is rippling throughout the healthcare community, prompting questions about not just the future of the health bill pending in Congress but also of various programs that the senator championed for so long.

The question comes amid a larger array of concerns over the aftermath of Kennedy’s death, with a special election set for Jan. 19 to determine who will serve out the rest of his term ending in 2012, as the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Many healthcare providers worry that they have lost an irreplaceable benefactor, according to the Boston Globe.

Hospitals, universities, life sciences companies, and research centers - which together provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state - all were accustomed to turning to Kennedy for help.As chairman of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, he was in an ideal position to deliver on their requests for assistance. And as a powerful member of the Armed Services Committee, he defended and promoted the state’s technology-based defense sector.
“He kind of protected us in a sense,’’ said Thomas Glynn, chief operating officer of Partners HealthCare, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The question is five years from now will [hospitals] be getting as much money as they would if he were alive. I doubt it."

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