Obama agenda: Frustration, bumps, and glitches

The New York Times: “Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a ‘zero option’ that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.”

(By the way, a Google search for Obama and frustrated returns 22.6 million results.)

Obama meets with the Congressional Black Caucus today to discuss the economy, immigration, and voting rights. Vice President Biden heads to Arizona for a memorial for the 19 firefighters killed.

Politico: “As millions of low-income adults gain access in just a few months to Medicaid coverage under Obamacare, those already in the program could be shut out of some of the key preventive services included in the law. And the new enrollees could have a hard time actually getting a doctor. Those are the findings of two Health Affairs studies published Monday” from George Washington University’s public health school.”

National Journal: “If you've been reading all the Obamacare stories lately, you might get the impression that the administration has just realized it will not be able to implement the massive health reform as designed. It has known for months. As far back as March, a top IT official at the Department of Health and Human Services said the department's current ambition for the law's new online insurance marketplaces was that they not be ‘a Third-World experience.’ Several provisions had already been abandoned in an effort to simplify the administration's task and maximize the chances that the new systems would be ready to go live in October, when customers are supposed to start signing up for insurance.”

Sam Stein looks at the real-world impact sequestration’s having on Head Start families, including families seeing their children dropped from the federally funded early education program for lower-income families: “Sequestration was meant to hurt people just like Reynolds and Bella, Misty and April. The policy's designers made a bet in the summer of 2011 that a deficit-reduction cleaver that decimated defense and harmed the most vulnerable would be abhorrent to Republicans and Democrats alike. They lost the bet. Sequestration went into effect on March 1, 2013, after lawmakers failed to agree on a replacement. In Washington, the conventional wisdom has sometimes held that sequestration's harms were oversold. Dire warnings of massive job loss never came true, while government programs used budget gimmickry to keep operating. Outside the Beltway, the perception of sequestration is sharply, viscerally different. Budget cuts have resulted in fewer meals for seniors, less financial aid for scientific research, poorer natural disaster preparedness and more expensive treatments for cancer patients.”