john dingell 2It’s impossible to paint the full picture of retired Congressman John Dingell’s career achievements – an anthology of feats that distinguished his record 59-year career in the House of Representatives and paved the way for numerous accolades and recognition.

But here’s a snapshot.

Since he was elected into office in 1955, taking over his father’s Michigan district seat, Congressman Dingell was one of our nation’s fiercest advocates for medical progress. He served alongside 11 Presidents, always focused on the effort that health care is a right, not a privilege. He fought for the elderly and universal coverage. He was at the center of the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

And for those reasons, and many others, we are honored to name Congressman Dingell the Disruptive Women in Health Care March Man of the Month, which coincides with today’s Aging Audaciously series event at the Library of Congress: Prevention Wisdom Kicked Up A Notch. The event will feature remarks from Congressman Dingell’s wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who succeeded Mr. Dingell by winning the election for his seat in November 2014.

Since his retirement, Mr. Dingell’s accomplishments have been well-chronicled, but one nugget, to me, stuck out, as reported in a 2009 NPR story. Congressman Dingell’s father, Congressman John Dingell Sr., had a life-long quest to pass national health insurance, which he championed until his death in 1955.

john dingell 1Espousing his dad’s passion, Congressman Dingell introduced a bill to provide universal coverage to older adults during the first day of each Congress. When the legislation finally came to fruition in 1965, he was awarded the honor by then-Speaker John McCormack to preside over the passing of the Medicare bill.

As reported by the Associated Press, in a symbolic move 45 years later, Congressman Dingell lent the historic gavel he had used to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the passing of the Affordable Care Act (see photo above of Congressman Dingell holding the same gavel at the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid last year).

Congressman Dingell’s advocacy for universal health insurance is just one piece of his total contribution to improving health care. His accomplishments include championing the Patient’s Bill of Rights, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Mammography Quality Standards Act, the FDA Food Safety modernization Act, and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, as well as a host of accomplishments in the environmental and conservation space.

We are grateful for Congressman Dingell’s tireless efforts and are pleased to be able to thank and celebrate him and his role as a disruptive voice to make health care better for all Americans.

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