Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Obameter

Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

Lift the payroll tax cap on earnings above $250,000

"Barack Obama believes that the first place to look to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Obama believes that one strong option is increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security by lifting the payroll tax cap on only earnings above $250,000."

Forbid companies in bankruptcy from giving executives bonuses

"Protect the jobs and benefits of workers and retirees when corporations file for bankruptcy by telling companies that they cannot issue bonuses for executives during bankruptcy while their workers watch their pensions disappear."

Allow workers to claim more in unpaid wages and benefits in bankruptcy court

"Increase the amount of unpaid wages and benefits workers can claim in bankruptcy court against their employer."

Require full disclosure of company pension investments to employees

"When companies fund their pensions, many do not disclose their investments with the employee's pension dollars. This lack of transparency can make it easier for fund managers to make imprudent or even fraudulent investment decisions. Obama will ensure that all employees who have company pensions receive annual disclosures about their pension fund's investments, including full details about which projects have been invested in, the performance of those investments and appropriate details about probable future investments strategies."

Close the "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug plan

"Barack Obama wants to close the 'doughnut hole' in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program that limits benefits for seniors with more than $2,250 but less than $5,100 in annual drug costs. Approximately 4 million seniors hit the doughnut hole in 2006, paying full price for drugs while also paying drug plan premiums."

Provide easy-to-understand comparisons of the Medicare prescription drug plans

"An Obama administration will require companies to send Medicare Part D beneficiaries a complete list of the drugs the individual used the past year as well as the pertinent fees paid the previous year. Companies will also be required to provide seniors with online versions of this information, so that they can use it at a third-party comparison shopping site, similar to Priceline.com."

Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program

Expand "the Senior Corps program, which connects individuals over the age of 55 to local volunteer opportunities, and work to provide additional security, including assistance with retirement and family-related costs, to seniors who participate in public service."

Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions

Require insurance companies "to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans, regardless of their health status or history, can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums."

Create a National Health Insurance Exchange

Create a "National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance."

Give tax credits to those who need help to pay health premiums

"Income-based sliding scale tax credits will be provided for people and families who need it."

Create a small business tax credit to help with health premiums

"Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to provide small businesses with a refundable tax credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees. To be eligible for the credit, small businesses will have to offer a quality health plan to all of their employees and cover a meaningful share of the cost of employee health premiums."

Require large employers to contribute to a national health plan

"Large employers that do not offer meaningful coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan. Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement."

Require children to have health insurance coverage

"Require that all children have health care coverage. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage by allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents' plans."

Expand eligibility for Medicaid

"Expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function."

Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)

"Expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function."

Invest in electronic health information systems

"Invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records."

Phase in requirements for health information technology

"Phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT and commit the necessary federal resources."

Require that health plans utilize disease management programs

"Require that plans that participate in the new public plan, Medicare or the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) utilize disease management programs to improve efficiency and lower costs."

Require providers to report measures of health care costs and quality

"Require hospitals and providers to collect and publicly report measures of health care costs and quality, including data on preventable medical errors, nurse staffing ratios, hospital-acquired infections, and disparities in care and costs."

Require health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care

"Require health plans to disclose the percentage of premiums that actually goes to paying for patient care as opposed to administrative costs."