Viewpoints: Could Congress Sue Obama?; Abortion Coverage For Peace Corps Volunteers
The Wall Street Journal: The Standing To Sue Obama
President Obama is setting a dangerous precedent by suspending his enforcement of laws on health care, immigration, drugs, banking and so much else, but the courts may soon be asked to throw a brushback pitch. ... The Washington constitutional litigator David Rivkin and Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley have developed a legal theory that would allow for judicial review to resolve this dispute between the political branches on the merits. Members of Congress as individuals cannot sue as individuals over passing political disputes. But when the President is usurping core legislative powers, Congress as an institution can sue to vindicate this constitutional injury (6/15).
The Wall Street Journal: What's 'Success' In Lowering Health-Care Premiums?
Supporters and opponents of the health-care law disagree about a lot. ... Supporters of the law started out saying that Obamacare would reduce premiums in absolute terms. Now, backers say that the law will lower premium increases relative to what they would have been without the law—a tougher metric to quantify and a more difficult measure of success to sell politically. This is another example of how in Washington, where one stands on an issue frequently depends upon where one sits (Chris Jacobs, 6/13).
The New York Times: Yes He Could: Health Care And Climate: President Obama's Big Deals
You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there's a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction. First, health reform is now a reality — and despite a shambolic start, it's looking like a big success story. Remember how nobody was going to sign up? First-year enrollments came in above projections. Remember how people who signed up weren't actually going to pay their premiums? The vast majority have (Paul Krugman, 6/15).
The New York Times: Abortion And Birth, Together
Some of the pregnant women who arrive at Buffalo Womenservices in upstate New York are there for checkups or tours of the birth center, with its pool and homey delivery room. Others arrive to talk to a doctor, nurse or counselor. But they are not waiting for prenatal tests. They are there to get abortions. Buffalo Womenservices is unusual because it is a birth and abortion center in one. ... Seeing reproductive care as a continuum might rejigger our thinking and remind us that many of us experience both childbirth and abortion. (Alissa Quart, 6/14).
The New York Times: Peace Corps Volunteers Deserve Fairness
Women make up more than 60 percent of the Peace Corps, volunteers who are often put in situations where safe and reliable medical care is difficult to find and where they face the risk of sexual assault. Yet federal law does not allow abortion coverage in the volunteers' health care program, even in cases of rape or incest, or when a pregnancy endangers a woman’s life. Next week, subcommittees in both the House and the Senate will begin work on a Peace Corps budget for the next fiscal year. The lawmakers should repeal this unfair prohibition (6/13).
The New York Times' Upshot: Eric Cantor Is Not a Reform Conservative
[Rep. Eric Cantor] has never had a deep commitment to policy reform. He has been quite comfortable with the Republican party's position on nearly every major domestic policy. Instead, Mr. Cantor has mostly been interested in using new policy ideas as elements of a political strategy — strengthening Republicans politically by nodding in the direction of reform, so the party doesn't look too negative. Let's look, for example, at one of the policy reform initiatives that Mr. Cantor took up as a pet project: high-risk pools for health insurance ... he was using one of the big policy ideas reform conservatives like as a political tool against Obamacare. It didn't even work: Mr. Cantor withdrew the bill, lacking Republican votes to pass it, as his caucus members did not want to be seen as working to improve Obamacare rather than repeal it (Josh Barro, 6/13).
The New York Times: The Other Veterans Scandal
The Department of Veterans Affairs is mired in scandal. More than 57,000 veterans have been waiting at least three months for a doctor's appointment. Another 64,000 never even made it onto a waiting list. There are allegations that waits for care either caused or contributed to veterans' deaths. But another, even larger problem with the Department of Veterans Affairs is being overlooked: Even when the department works exactly as intended, it helps inflict great harm on veterans, active-duty military personnel and civilians. Here's how. Veterans’ health and disability benefits are some of the largest costs involved in any military conflict (Michael F. Cannon and Christopher Preble, 6/15).
USA Today: The Real Cancer That Caused The VA Scandal
We can talk about incompetence. Or indifference. Or bureaucratic intransigence. Most likely, it was some combination of the three that created the tragic wait times and falsified reporting at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that were so woefully chronicled in the recent VA Inspector General's report. But let's add another fatal character flaw to the list: "Chronic Distrust" (Richard S. Levick, 6/13).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: The Truth About Those 'Greedy' Seniors
What’s your image of America's seniors? Are they "greedy geezers" who can afford to pay a lot more than they do today for their health care? Sure, some seniors are wealthy. About 4% of people on Medicare have more than $100,000 in income, and 6% have more than $1 million in savings. But most seniors live on much less, and some groups, such as those in their 80s and 90s, older women, and black and Hispanic seniors, have strikingly low incomes and modest savings. You can check out all the stats on seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in this new Kaiser Family Foundation infographic, but here are a few especially revealing numbers: Half of all people on Medicare had annual incomes of less than $23,500 per person in 2013. (Medicare beneficiaries include seniors as well as younger disabled beneficiaries). … For black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries, median savings were much lower: $10,300 for blacks and $9,300 for Hispanics in 2013, compared with $89,500 for white people on Medicare (Drew Altman, 6/13).