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Blog Post | Public Health

Senate passes flawed chemical policy legislation | Carli Jensen

On Thursday, the Senate passed a flawed bill to update the federal chemical safety law, the 1976 Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA), unanimously approved on a voice vote. While improved from their original versions, neither the House nor Senate bill is strong enough, and both bills contain some dangerous flaws.

 

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Result | Democracy

Delivering one million petitions to President Obama on dark money

U.S. PIRG joined a broad coalition to deliver one million petitions from Americans, including U.S. PIRG members and supporters, calling on President Obama to shine a light on dark money, or secret political spending.

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Blog Post | Health Care

New data on health care prices raises questions for policymakers | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

A New York Times report released yesterday put the spotlight on health care prices. We all know that health care still costs too much, but too often, we have little information about how much it does cost and why.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

House Committee Launches Trojan Horse Assault On State Privacy Laws | Ed Mierzwinski

This afternoon (Tuesday, 8 December), the U.S. House Financial Services Committee launches a massive attack on state privacy laws. Hidden inside a seemingly modest proposal to establish federal data breach notice requirements is a Trojan Horse provision designed to to take state consumer cops off the privacy beat, completely and forever. That's wrong, because the states have always been key first responders and leaders on privacy threats that Congress has ignored, from credit report accuracy and identity theft to data breaches and do-not-call lists.

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Media Hit | Health Care

OSPIRG: 16 Health Insurance Companies Need To Justify Rates

An Oregon consumer group says the 16 companies that have proposed insurance rates for the state's new health exchange, haven't offered adequate justification for prices. 

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News Release | OSPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 121,570 Student Loan Borrowers in Oregon Set to Double on July 1

Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 121,570 student loan borrowers in Oregon will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by OSPIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Oregon students’ loans by over $110 million. 

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the OSPIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. 

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax

Critical Information on Economic Development Tax Subsidies Remains Out of Public View

Critical details for over $665 million in economic development tax subsidies are still mostly out of reach for Oregonians. A new study released today by OSPIRG Foundation examined the reports made available on Oregon’s transparency website as a result of a two-year old transparency law, and found that only a small fraction of economic development subsidy programs covered by the law provide a report for public review.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Tax

Department of Justice Orders Release of More Hidden Tax Subsidy Data

In response to a petition filed by OSPIRG, the Oregon Department of Justice has ordered the Oregon Department of Revenue to release employment data about Enterprise Zones, a major tax subsidy program estimated to cost Oregon taxpayers over $75 million in the next two years.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Regence Proposal to Increase Rates 22%

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon (Regence) is proposing to raise rates an average of 22.1% on individual plans. These are plans for people who do not have employer-based coverage. If approved, this rate increase will impact 59,477 Oregonians effective August 1, 2011.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Regence Proposal to Raise Small Businesses Rates

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (Regence) is proposing a rate increase on small business plans, with an average increase of 10.8%, impacting 54,299 Oregonians, effective July 1, 2011.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax

Tax Shell Game

Tax havens are countries with minimal or no taxes, to which U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals transfer their earnings to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Users of tax havens benefit from access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security, but pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Unacceptable Risk

As the eyes of the world have focused on the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, Americans have begun to raise questions about the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace: Negotiating for a Better Deal

A well-made state exchange can help deliver lower costs for individuals and small businesses. Just as big businesses negotiate with insurers, using the bargaining power of their employees to push for lower premiums, so too can exchange enrollees benefit from a muscular exchange that negotiates on their behalf for better choices and lower costs.

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Blog Post | Health Care

What should your health plan cover?—Oregon wants to hear from YOU! | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

We all expect our health insurance to cover our basic health needs, but the significant differences in coverage between plans can be confusing and disempowering for consumers. What services should all health insurance in Oregon cover? Governor Kitzhaber recently convened a panel to answer just this question--and they want to hear from you!

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

You can pick your friends, and even your bank, but you're stuck with the reckless credit bureaus | Ed Mierzwinski

You can pick your friends and even your bank but you are stuck with the credit bureaus.  Over the last twenty years the power of the big credit bureaus to act as gatekeepers to consumer success in life has grown immensely. Credit reports and credit scores generated from them are used to decide whether consumers can get a job, get car insurance, qualify to open a bank account, rent an apartment, use a debit card and, of course, whether they can obtain and how much they will pay for credit. The Columbus (OH) Dispatch has an excellent four-part series explaining that the credit bureaus make mistakes, lots of them, and ruin peoples' lives. There is hope, however, since the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has new tools to rein in the bureaus.

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Blog Post | Health Care

Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debates Strategies to Control Costs, Improve Quality | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

The future of health insurance in Oregon is at stake this summer.  The state is in the middle of an ambitious effort to remake health care that holds the promise of creating a better deal for consumers—if it’s done right.

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Blog Post | Health Care

CO-OP Health Insurance Promises Greater Consumer Control | David Rosenfeld

What if your health insurance company answered to you?  What if it could be held accountable for its policies and fees through member elections? 

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Blog Post | Food

2.8 billion Twinkies is a lot of Twinkies | David Rosenfeld

We’ve already documented that at least $1 billion in taxpayer dollars directly subsidize the production of junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils that are the main ingredients in Twinkies, soda and other junk food products. If you spent all that money on Twinkies, it would be enough to buy about 2.8 billion of those golden colored sweets (at the estimated wholesale rate of 36 cents per Twinkie), or about 19 Twinkies per taxpayer. But the fun math doesn’t need to stop there, especially when we’re talking 2.8 billion Twinkies.

 

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