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

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Transportation

Statement: Senate vote heralds cleaner future, safer climate

WASHINGTON – Midway through a summer full of brutally hot weather, flash floods and worsening drought, the U.S. Senate passed the largest-ever package of climate and clean energy investments. The Inflation Reduction Act includes roughly $369 billion in climate spending, designed to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and put the United States’ Paris Climate Accord goals within reach. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday, August 12.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

STATEMENT: Senate votes for groundbreaking provisions to save billions in prescription drug costs

WASHINGTON – The Inflation Reduction Act just passed by the U.S. Senate provides powerful tools for the government to address high drug prices. Federal legislators identified ways to address drug costs that will save close to $240 billion over 10 years and also relieve the burden of the high cost of medications for many Americans. Next, the U.S. House of Representatives must pass the bill for it to become law.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Congress expands health care for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals

The United States Senate passed the PACT Act with bipartisan support, expanding health care benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals while serving in the military.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement: Equifax must be held accountable for mishandling consumer data yet again

According to the Wall Street Journal, Equifax sent to lenders millions of incorrect credit scores for consumers applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Ten Ways Methane Gas Companies Are Misleading the Public

Methane gas is a fossil fuel that pollutes our air and poses risks to public health. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the gas industry portrays it.

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Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Transportation

Statement: Senate vote heralds cleaner future, safer climate

WASHINGTON – Midway through a summer full of brutally hot weather, flash floods and worsening drought, the U.S. Senate passed the largest-ever package of climate and clean energy investments. The Inflation Reduction Act includes roughly $369 billion in climate spending, designed to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and put the United States’ Paris Climate Accord goals within reach. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday, August 12.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

STATEMENT: Senate votes for groundbreaking provisions to save billions in prescription drug costs

WASHINGTON – The Inflation Reduction Act just passed by the U.S. Senate provides powerful tools for the government to address high drug prices. Federal legislators identified ways to address drug costs that will save close to $240 billion over 10 years and also relieve the burden of the high cost of medications for many Americans. Next, the U.S. House of Representatives must pass the bill for it to become law.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Congress expands health care for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals

The United States Senate passed the PACT Act with bipartisan support, expanding health care benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals while serving in the military.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement: Equifax must be held accountable for mishandling consumer data yet again

According to the Wall Street Journal, Equifax sent to lenders millions of incorrect credit scores for consumers applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Climate deal would reinstate much needed ‘polluter pays’ tax on oil industry

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia have reached a deal on a reconciliation bill that, among major climate and energy efficiency provisions, includes an oil excise tax to fund Superfund toxic waste site cleanups nationwide. If passed, this bill would reinstate one of several “polluter pays” taxes that was allowed to lapse 26 years ago.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

> Keep Reading
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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Pages

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

Ten Ways Methane Gas Companies Are Misleading the Public

Methane gas is a fossil fuel that pollutes our air and poses risks to public health. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the gas industry portrays it.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

UPDATE: Newest climate deal would hold polluters accountable for toxic waste clean up | Emily Rogers

If passed, this bill would reinstate one of several “polluter pays” taxes that was allowed to lapse 26 years ago

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Why you can now have faith in good faith estimates | Patricia Kelmar

Here are the steps to getting a written good faith estimate before receiving scheduled medical care. 

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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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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

News Release | U.S. PIRG

WASHINGTON – The Inflation Reduction Act just passed by the U.S. Senate provides powerful tools for the government to address high drug prices. Federal legislators identified ways to address drug costs that will save close to $240 billion over 10 years and also relieve the burden of the high cost of medications for many Americans. Next, the U.S. House of Representatives must pass the bill for it to become law.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

WASHINGTON – Midway through a summer full of brutally hot weather, flash floods and worsening drought, the U.S. Senate passed the largest-ever package of climate and clean energy investments. The Inflation Reduction Act includes roughly $369 billion in climate spending, designed to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and put the United States’ Paris Climate Accord goals within reach. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday, August 12.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

The United States Senate passed the PACT Act with bipartisan support, expanding health care benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals while serving in the military.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

According to the Wall Street Journal, Equifax sent to lenders millions of incorrect credit scores for consumers applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards.

Blog Post

Methane gas is a fossil fuel that pollutes our air and poses risks to public health. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the gas industry portrays it.

Transportation

EPA announces $5 billion for electric school buses

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $5 billion Clean School Bus Program to help school districts replace polluting diesel buses with clean electric ones. Currently, most of the nation’s 450,000 school buses run on diesel fuel, even though diesel exhaust has been linked to respiratory illness, cancer and other serious health risks.

 

Solid Waste

Biden administration commits to removing single-use plastic from national parks

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has issued an order to phase out single-use plastic products from our country’s national parks and other public lands by 2032, after PIRG and over 20,000 of our supporters urged the administration to take this critical step beyond plastic.

 

Report: Methane Gas Leaks

Gas leaks and pipeline incidents are common and put public health and safety at risk.

 

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.

 
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