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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Lowering your APR might be easier than you think | Kathryn Lee

Many Americans are walking around with a balance on their credit card because of high interest rates, or annual percentage rate (APR) charges for unpaid balances. It's best to pay off your balance in full but if you don't or can't, a higher APR makes your debit grow faster. What most people don’t realize is this APR can be negotiated to a lower rate.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Flint Pediatrician Gave a Voice to the Voiceless in Flint, Michigan | Anna Low-Beer

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is the Flint pediatrician who led the charge in proving that Flint water was tainted by lead and was poisoning the community. Without her drive and dedication to the children of Flint, it is hard to say how long government officials might have left the public in the dark about the mounting crisis. In honor of Women’s History Month we’re recognizing Dr. Hanna-Attisha -- a doctor, mother, and activist -- who has relentlessly fought for the public interest. 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

We oppose latest effort to weaken CFPB, other bank regulators | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Financial Services Committee holds its latest cattle-call markup of a package of industry-backed bills designed to weaken consumer, taxpayer, depositor and investor protections. We've signed a letter opposing the so-called TAILOR (Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk) Act, which piles redundant requirements onto the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators to do what they already do by existing law--treat small banks and credit unions differently than mega-banks. Also, the PIRG-backed Americans for Financial Reform sent up a letter opposing the TAILOR Act and 6 more of the 10 bills on the agenda because they are designed to weaken consumer, taxpayer, depositor and investor protections.

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Blog Post | Public Health

The Flint Water Crisis: What You Need to Know | Anna Low-Beer

With President Obama clearing the way for federal aid in Flint, Michigan last month, the water crisis is receiving immediate attention. The city was badly in need of a short-term fix, but what about the future of affected Flint citizens?

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

More Than 100 Groups Insist on No Riders in Spending Legislation

The day before the White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, a coalition of more than 100 groups, including U.S. PIRG, sent a letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders.

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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 Foundation | Health Care

Proposed 2014 health insurance rates lack adequate justification

Sixteen Oregon health insurance companies have proposed their premium rates for next year, and according to new OSPIRG Foundation analysis released today, many have failed to adequately justify their prices.“With some insurers proposing rates twice as high as others for identical coverage, it is more critical than ever to scrutinize the basis for these rates,” said Jesse O’Brien, OSPIRG Foundation Health Care Advocate.

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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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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Democracy, Tax

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

This report examines the tax subsidies that corporations benefit from in Oregon, what we know about them, and what we don't. The report provides recommendations for improving transparency and accountability of Oregon's tax subsidies.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Democracy, Tax

Letting the Sunlight In

At least 30 quasi-public agencies in Oregon perform public functions, overseeing billions of dollars in their budgets. However, they operate with far less transparency and public accountability than other state agencies. Requiring quasi-public agencies to publish detailed financial information on the state transparency website is an easy and cost-effective way for Oregon to benefit from increased transparency.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Health Net's Rate Increase Proposal

Health Net Health Plan of Oregon is proposing an average 8.27% rate increase on small business plans impacting 37,872 Oregonians, effective April 1, 2011.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

Disproves the common misperception that road building is paid for by user fees, otherwise known as the federal gas tax.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on United HealthCare's Proposed Rate Hike

In this rate filing, United HealthCare does not appear to justify the proposed 16.8% increase.

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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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Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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