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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

President Obama as Legislator in Chief: Missing the VA Fraud

Buffeted with a whirlwind of criticism in the wake of revelations of widespread fraud in VA Hospital and outpatient clinic wait times, President Obama somewhat sheepishly admitted during a news conference on the matter that he had heard nothing of the practice on his travels around the country. With at least one instance of false scheduling at 65% of the facilities between September 30, 2013 and March 31, 2014 and 13% of schedulers being instructed in how to falsify wait-times,[1] it is odd that word had not reached the president’s ear. Maybe this is not so odd after all, for the president’s domestic trips tended to be oriented to campaign fundraisers and speeches oriented to proposed legislation. In other words, the president—and Barak Obama is hardly alone here—put his legislative role above that of his office as chief executive.

1. Meghan Hoyer and Gregg Zoroya, “Fraud Masks VA Wait Times,” USA Today, June 3, 2014.