Too much, too soon

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

Regardless of whether they agree with the actions that have been taken, nobody can ever accuse the Obama administration of dragging its heels in addressing the problems that face America today.

From a historic stimulus plan designed to help perk up the nation’s lagging economy to an energy plan intended to address the manmade component of global warming to the automaker bailouts that were formulated in an effort to save American jobs, Obama and his Democratically controlled Congress have been in a whirlwind of activity in the six short months since he took office.

Now, the president and Democratic lawmakers are turning their attention to healthcare, proposing yet another massive, expensive and game-changing government program that they promise will solve everything.

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There’s no question that — despite the high level of healthcare available in America — there are problems with the system. In Suffolk alone, according to a 2005 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.8 percent of the population — 9,392 people — were without health insurance coverage. Those who do have coverage have seen their rates increase at a far faster rate than the rate of inflation, to levels that sometimes make paying for the coverage impossible.

The jury, however, is still out on whether Obama’s plan for universal health care will solve the problem or just create other, even greater, problems. The Congressional Budget Office, for example, estimates that the plan would cost taxpayers more than a trillion dollars during the next 10 years, increasing, rather than reducing, the amount that the cost of long-term care.

With a ballooning national debt — every man, woman and child in America currently has a $37,000 stake — it would seem that a level of restraint is now in order at the federal government level, and the uncertainty over the long-term effects of Obama’s plan should be a further argument for moderation.

There are times when boldness is called for, but those bold times also require ensuing periods of reflection and consideration of results. Considering the bold moves taken during Obama’s last six months in office, it seems advisable to take one of those brief periods of reflection before setting out on yet another audacious path.

A solution to America’s healthcare problems is too important to rush. Congress should politely tell the president that this proposed step is just too much, too soon.