A look at health care law

Health care challenges not new

Re “Executive Branch’s powers are limited,” Aug. 22: It seems the letter writer is either unaware of or chose to ignore the actions of another president who modified the implementation of a health care law. To quote from a March 26, 2014, Think Progress article by Igor Volsky:

“In May of 2006, just days before the end of open enrollment, President Bush took administrative action to waive ‘penalty fees for very low-income seniors and people with disabilities who sign up late’ and allowed ‘the same impoverished beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare drug coverage until Dec. 31’.”

“In other words, you can apply after May 15th without penalty,” Bush told seniors during an event in Florida. “And that’s important for low-income seniors to understand.”

Like Obamacare, the launch of President George W. Bush’s prescription benefit plan was hampered by technical glitches, setbacks and mass confusion. As the May 15 deadline for enrollment loomed, a bipartisan group of lawmakers advocacy organizations, and a surprising number of newspaper editorials, urged the administration to extend the enrollment period and protect seniors from the penalties associated with late enrollment.”

Where was all the uproar from conservatives then on the legality of President Bush's actions? Congress continues its unwillingness to act on important issues (immigration being so important Congress went on a five week vacation rather than address the issue) so President Obama is left with no choice but to use his presidential powers to act on these issues. Somebody has to. Describing this as an "American age of Dictatorship" is simply ludicrous. — JOHN SHEEHAN, WASHINGTON TWP.

Speak up

Re President Obama regretting decision to golf: I am not one to judge a person's intent, but when the president comes right out and says "I should have anticipated the optics" he does not sincerely regret what he did; only that it looked badly. This confirms his lack of compassion and sincerity that a real leader demonstrates. He would have been better off saying nothing.

The view that there are no easy solutions to America's foreign affairs is correct. However, it is President Obama's withdrawal of America's leadership in the world over the past five years that has created the unfortunate situations that we now face.

Re "Critics of force have no clue how to quell a riot," Aug. 28: I am highly offended by Thomas Sowell's article that suggests that police in the South were doing a good job in the 1960s because it was "the region with the fewest riots." When citizens so fear reprisal that they dare not speak up then they are living in a police state, it's not a democracy. People in this country have the right to question authority, they have the right to peaceably protest, and they have a right to be treated equally by the law no matter the color of their skin.

If America is headed in the wrong direction it's due to increasing income inequality, increased voter suppression, an apparent resurgence in racism, a political Supreme Court, an obstructive Republican Party, unrestricted gun laws, growing mental illness and an increasing lack of empathy among the population.

Education and jobs are the two things needed for a functioning future society. If we continue to be organized around making the rich richer instead of having America's productivity benefit everyone, we will not have the kind of society we want to live in.