Do it right, not just fast
I can understand the political reasons why President Obama has set a 2009 deadline for passing health-care legislation. As Congressional sessions head into federal election years, the political difficulties of passing any major legislation increase significantly. It gets harder for proponents and opponents to focus on the merits of the legislation simply because everything they do gets looked at through the lens of election campaigning.
That being said, this is a complex piece of legislation with far-reaching implications with many details that can have big negative long-term consequences. It must be done right, and getting it right is more important than getting it done fast. Having worked on complex postal reform legislation that dragged past the 2006 elections into a one-week special session that passed at 2:45 am December 10, I found that, even if it would have been easier for the legislation to have passed in 2005, the final product was better for having been delayed almost a year.
The President has done a masterful job keeping this legislation on the front burner and pushing it forward even when it looked like it could have gone off the rails. He should give Congress a chance to work out the tough issues even if it takes beyond the end of the year.
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