The Lion of the U.S. Senate is gone. Well loved, revered and respected, even by those of differing political views, Edward “Ted” Kennedy left us a legacy, the crowning achievement of which — one he hoped to complete before he died – is healthcare reform.

Some may suggest that the passing of this patriarch of the Senate leaves the future of health care reform up in the air. It seems far more likely that the opposite is true. Representatives from both sides of the aisle (as well as the middle) can come together to pass a bill in his name, a piece of legislation worthy of his stature, his dedication, and conviction.

While we mourn his passing, let us also respect his memory. We all want to see health care reform, but let’s ensure that this is a functional, lasting tribute to his memory; a positive leap towards the goal of ensuring that good health and health care become the status quo for everyone in this country. Let us see to it that what is enacted is well thought out, effecting meaningful change for the better.

Let us enact changes that include curbing the wastes within the practice of medicine, tort reform to keep greedy individuals from profiteering, an insurance system that allows everyone to get the help they need, and common-sense preventive care to help avoid illness in the first place. As we lay the lion to rest, let us commit to seeing his dream and long-time ambition come true. Ted Kennedy’s life work and memory deserve no less.