Post the Price, Please

OSPIRG is working to make sure consumers get to see health care prices up front.

SECRET PRICES CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH COSTS

 Recent studies show that one third of every dollar we spend on health care is wasted on something that doesn’t improve our health.[1] One reason why is that hospitals get to keep their prices a secret. As a result, medical prices are often hidden from patients, and many contain extra charges and surprising fees. Take a look at some of these examples:

IT’S TIME FOR UP FRONT PRICES

We can bring down the cost of care by getting prices up front. To that end, OSPIRG urges Oregon policymakers to take action to require hospitals to post their prices and to give patients the price of a recommended procedure in real time. It's common sense, but it will likely take big public support to overcome industry lobbyists.


 
[1] Institute of Medicine at the National Academies, Sept 2012, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America".
[2] CNN, March 2010, "Prescription for Waste" 
[3] OSPIRG blog, October 2013, "Thousand Dollar Ointment".
[4] Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data

Issue updates

Blog Post | Antibiotics

McDonald’s needs to honor its promises | Matt Wellington

 U.S. PIRG Education Fund and PIRG’s affiliated mutual fund company Green Century Capital Management, have been pressuring McDonald’s about environmental and public health issues for several years. Now, we’re working to hold McDonald’s accountable to its promises to improve factory farming conditions and reduce antibiotic use in the beef it buys. 

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Blog Post

Donald Ross, 1943-2022 | Douglas H. Phelps

Donald Ross passed away on May 14 after a recent illness. He was 78 years old.

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News Release | PIRG | COVID-19

Statement: 1 million Americans dead from COVID-19

President Biden is acknowledging the loss of 1 million American lives to COVID-19 on Thursday. The Administration marks the sad milestone as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have risen across the United States in recent weeks, most sharply in the Northeast. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Colorado Legislature passes bill to reduce plastic packaging, boost recycling

Building on successful programs in dozens of countries and recent action taken by Maine and Oregon, the Colorado Senate passed on Wednesday a bipartisan producer responsibility bill. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG & Environment America

Statement: Congress should pass legislation to protect drinking water from PFAS contamination

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire introduced the Clean Water Standards for PFAS 2.0 Act into the Senate and the House this week. The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish limits on how much PFAS chemicals producers can dump into waterways and to set water quality criteria to protect human health.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC

Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: States sue to stop misguided USPS plan to spend billions on gas powered vehicles

Attorneys general from 16 states,the District of Columbia and environmental groups sued the U.S. Postal Service on Thursday to halt purchases of thousands of gas-powered trucks that only get 8.6 ils per gallon, only a small improvement over teh 30-year-old vehicles currently in use.

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Result | Tax

No tax giveaway for Comcast

The Oregon Department of Revenue has denied Comcast a big payday at taxpayer expense, following a public outcry and petitions from thousands of Oregonians across the state opposing a tax giveaway for the internet giant.

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Result | Health Care

Health Insurance Legislation Passed

In 2015, with OSPIRG’s strong support, the Oregon Legislature passed the state’s first comprehensive consumer protections in health insurance networks. Until now, Oregon law provided few protections to ensure that health plans offer a network that can provide covered services in a timely fashion. The new law requires insurers to provide accurate, actionable provider network information to consumers.

> Keep Reading
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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30 years of toy safety

For the past thirty years, our sister organization U.S. PIRG Education Fund has taken a close look at the safety of toys sold in stores. Their reports have led to more than 150 regulatory actions. In November 2015, they released our 30th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

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Result | Democracy

Giving more Americans a greater voice in our elections

In our democracy, the size of your wallet shouldn’t determine the volume of your voice. In 2015, we helped win reforms in Maine and Seattle to ensure that more Americans have a greater say in our elections. Seattle’s Initiative-122 empowers small donors with “democracy vouchers” that can be donated to local candidates and lowers the cap on contributions. In Maine, the state’s Clean Elections Act was improved by strengthening campaign finance disclosure laws and offering qualifying candidates increased public funding.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund, NRDC and Fashion FWD

Going Out of Fashion

PFAS use in apparel and other consumer products is coming under increased scrutiny from lawmakers. However, apparel manufacturers and retail stores don’t need to wait for the law to catch up to the proliferation of toxic PFAS. They can get out in front of the regulatory curve and protect their customers and the planet from PFAS pollution by immediately adopting policies to end the use of PFAS in clothing, footwear, and accessories. Indeed, some already have. 

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Report | US PIRG | Consumer Tips

DARK PATTERNS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY ON YOUR PHONE

Dark patterns are one way that apps and websites steer consumers into making the choice that’s right for the app or website -- but wrong for the consumer.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Food

Food recalls: 2021 Trends and What They Mean for You

There were 270 food and beverage recalls in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That marked a 27 percent decrease from 2020. But fewer recalls doesn’t necessarily mean safer food. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Product Recalls: Often Too Little Too Late

2021 reminds us the system is broken. Federal laws favor corporations, not consumers, and it can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products.

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Pages

Blog Post | Antibiotics

McDonald’s needs to honor its promises | Matt Wellington

 U.S. PIRG Education Fund and PIRG’s affiliated mutual fund company Green Century Capital Management, have been pressuring McDonald’s about environmental and public health issues for several years. Now, we’re working to hold McDonald’s accountable to its promises to improve factory farming conditions and reduce antibiotic use in the beef it buys. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Donald Ross, 1943-2022 | Douglas H. Phelps

Donald Ross passed away on May 14 after a recent illness. He was 78 years old.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Oregonians want to repair their stuff. Why can't they?

More and more Oregonians just want to fix the things they own.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Congress is investigating how Apple restricts our right to repair

Congress is taking a look at the ways that Apple makes it harder to fix our iPhones, iPads and other products as a part of a larger antitrust investigation.

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Blog Post

The most comprehensive plastic pollution reduction bill in the country stalled in California. Here's what we do next.

California came close to passing the most ambitious legislation aimed at reducing plastic pollution in the country. But not close enough.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

It's not just Flint or Newark. Parents and teachers are concerned about lead in drinking water throughout the country. And they're looking for steps they can take to get the lead out.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

 U.S. PIRG Education Fund and PIRG’s affiliated mutual fund company Green Century Capital Management, have been pressuring McDonald’s about environmental and public health issues for several years. Now, we’re working to hold McDonald’s accountable to its promises to improve factory farming conditions and reduce antibiotic use in the beef it buys. 

Blog Post

Donald Ross passed away on May 14 after a recent illness. He was 78 years old.

Consumer Protection

GM heeds consumer groups' advocacy, commits to not sell used cars with safety issues

We commend General Motors for its new commitment not to sell used vehicles with unrepaired safety recall defects on its soon-to-be-launched used car platform, CarBravo.

 

Health Care

Victory: Medical debt to be scrubbed from consumers' credit reports

One in 5 American households report having medical debt. Now, new credit industry policies will help keep that debt from hurting their credit.

 

Safe Energy

Report: Electric school buses are a win for our kids and our energy grid

What if we could keep pollution out of our air, help stave of climate disaster, and move toward a cleaner energy grid — all by investing in electric school buses for our kids?

 

Consumer Tips

In the market for a new phone or laptop? This scorecard will tell you which popular products are built to last.

Products that carry unnecessary restrictions on access to repair tools lead you to spend money replacing your devices instead of repairing them. And they harm our planet by contributing to our rapidly growing electronic waste problem.

 
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