Promises about Health Care on The Obameter

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."

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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."


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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."

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Create a National Health Insurance Exchange


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

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."


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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."

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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."

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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."


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Phase in requirements for health information technology


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


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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."


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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."


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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."

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Require health care providers to report preventable medical errors


"Require providers to report preventable medical errors, and support hospital and physician practice improvement to prevent future errors."


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Establish an independent health institute to provide accurate and objective information

"Establish an independent institute to guide reviews and research on comparative effectiveness to provide accurate and objective information."

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Hold hospitals and health plans accountable for disparities in care


"Require hospitals and health plans to collect, analyze and report health care quality for disparity populations and holding them accountable for any differences found. … Diversify the workforce to ensure culturally effective care."


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Implement and fund proven health intervention programs


Implement and fund "evidence-based interventions, such as patient navigator programs." A patient navigator is someone specifically designated to guide patients and their families through the complexities of the health care system.


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Strengthen antitrust laws to prevent overcharging for malpractice insurance

"Strengthen antitrust laws to prevent insurers from overcharging physicians for their malpractice insurance."

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