WICKER Op Ed. in Natchez Democrat on potentially high healthcare cost

In the past two months, I have used this column multiple times to discuss the ongoing debate in Congress over health care reform. I believe it is one of the more important debates of our time and because, while we have a great opportunity to implement positive reforms, we also stand to lose greatly if we take the wrong approach.

As the debate continues, it has become clear that one of the more troubling aspects of the proposals being put forth by congressional Democrats is the cost to taxpayers. It is apparent that their proposals will come with more debt, higher taxes and lost jobs.

Too much debt

The American public is increasingly worried about the massive debt we are accumulating. And for good reason. We learned two weeks ago that for the first time in history the annual budget deficit has grown to more than $1 trillion. By the end of the fiscal year, the Obama administration expects that number to reach $1.8 trillion — an estimate some economists say is overly rosy considering the condition of our economy. This means the federal government is spending about $500 million per day — yes, per day — in interest alone on the national debt.

In response to this massive amount of red ink, the last thing we should be doing is adding hundreds of billions of dollars in more debt. A portion of the Senate Democrats’ health care plan was voted out of committee last week on a party line vote. The bill adds at least $1 trillion to the deficit, would force millions of Americans to lose their private health insurance, and would still leave 30 million Americans without health coverage. On the other side of the Capitol, House Democrats unveiled their health care plan last week. Their plan is expected to cost between $1 and 2 trillion but would still leave 17 million people uninsured.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker
The Natchez Democrat
7/20/9