Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Promises about Transparency on The Obameter

Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system

"The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will assess the degree to which credit cards meet consumer-friendly standards … (such as) the underwriting standards used to issue the card, the card's interest rate spread between the introductory rate and the maximum rate allowed, and transaction fees. ... Credit card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and contract materials, enabling consumers to quickly understand all of the major provisions of a credit card without having to rely exclusively on fine print in lengthy documents."

End no-bid contracts above $25,000

"Will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Establish transparency standards for military contractors

"Establish transparency standards for military contractors. … Create the reporting requirements, accounting, and accountability needed for good governance and actual money savings with contracting."

Require companies to disclose personal information data breaches

"California and other states have laws requiring a company that may have disclosed a resident's personal information without authorization to inform the victim of the disclosure. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that all Americans deserve the same right to know and will push for comparable federal legislation."

Centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters

"Will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format."

Seek independent watchdog agency to investigate congressional ethics violations

"Will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated."

Create a public "Contracts and Influence" database

"Will create a 'contracts and influence' database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them."

Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny

"Will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format."

Allow five days of public comment before signing bills

To reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."

Require more disclosure and a waiting period for earmarks

Through the "Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act, will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate."

Require Cabinet officials to host Internet town hall meetings

Will "require his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies."

Make White House communications public

"Will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public."

Conduct regulatory agency business in public

"Will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates."