Sen. Ben Cardin
Democrat, Maryland  

Cardin, 71, a veteran congressman, a son of Baltimore, and the grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants, twice has been elected to the Senate as a liberal Democrat in a reliably liberal, Democrat state. He has been in politics since 1967, when his uncle, Maurice, retired from the Maryland House of Delegates so that nephew Ben could run. Ben Cardin was still in law school at the time, but the new gig in Annapolis apparently didn’t distract from his studies: Cardin graduated first in his class and—at age 35—became the youngest-ever speaker of the Maryland House.
As a senator, Cardin has won praise from provider advocates because he wants to scrap the caps. Along with Susan Collins (see page 16), Cardin has introduced legislation that would repeal the $1,900 Medicare therapy caps, which have beset patients since 1997.
“We should be helping seniors receive services necessary to resume their normal lives, rather than erecting road blocks to recovery,” he says.
“Year after year, Congress has shown its disapproval for these arbitrary therapy caps by enacting short-term fixes. Until these caps are fully repealed, patient access to medically necessary rehabilitation services will continue to be threatened.
“We have an opportunity with this legislation to eliminate them permanently,” Cardin says.