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 | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

FTC settles first case against VoIP provider for allowing illegal robocalls

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A resolute dedication to democratic ideals coupled with the wisdom to recognize how and when to see the task through to completion: Advocates for all causes would do well to emulate the qualities that made Justice Ginsburg a truly historic figure. We offer our condolences to her children and grandchildren. The country she worked so hard to improve will miss her.

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Blog Post | Higher Ed

College students have been left behind. What’s the plan to support them?

Unnecessary costs for course materials, such as paying for access codes, are making a bad situation worse. 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

FTC settles first case against VoIP provider for allowing illegal robocalls

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

> Keep Reading
News Release

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A resolute dedication to democratic ideals coupled with the wisdom to recognize how and when to see the task through to completion: Advocates for all causes would do well to emulate the qualities that made Justice Ginsburg a truly historic figure. We offer our condolences to her children and grandchildren. The country she worked so hard to improve will miss her.

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

OSPIRG tells Governor Kate Brown it’s time to shut down, start over and do it right

OSPIRG is calling on Governor Kate Brown to hit the reset button on the state’s response to containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as cases surge to concerning levels. More than 1,000 health professionals nationwide, including 24 from Oregon, have now signed an open letter to America’s decision makers urging them to shut it down, start over, and do it right this time to contain COVID-19 and save lives.

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

Top health care professionals to state leaders: time to shut down, start over and do it right

Amid uncontrolled spread of the novel coronavirus in rural Oregon and the metro area, OSPIRG and top health experts delivered a letter Friday to Governor Brown and state leaders, calling on her to shut down hard hit counties, and start over with new policies to thwart COVID-19 and do it right. The letter calls for implementing stay at home restrictions to slow the virus, while increasing testing capacity and production of personal protective equipment.

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News Release | COVID-19

OSPIRG Issues Correction for July 16 County Trends Report

OSPIRG issued corrections for County COVID trends report dated 7-17-2020.

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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.

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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.

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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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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 | OSPIRG Foundation | COVID-19, Health Care

Hospital Repair Restrictions

COVID-19 is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the work of hospital biomedical repair technicians, known as biomeds or BMETs. These technicians are essential; hospitals need working equipment to diagnose and treat patients. But in some cases, manufacturers restrict access to what biomeds need.

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Report | OSPIRG | COVID-19

Open Safe Oregon

COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a non-partisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. As of June 28th, only three states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating.  Currently, Oregon is failing half of the benchmarks, and is rated “Red.”

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Putting Consumers First

U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action have released a report recommending that  CFPB should use the full extent of its authority to take immediate action to strengthen its consumer complaint tool, hold companies accountable for providing complete and timely responses to consumers, and leverage consumer complaints related to the pandemic to support oversight and regulatory action to protect consumers.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Price gouging on Amazon during the Coronavirus outbreak

Empty store shelves and out of stock signs are becoming more common in America as the Coronavirus reaches the nation’s shores. While many regions have yet to declare a state of emergency, a new analysis by U.S. PIRG Education Fund revealed the 30-day average price of surgical masks and hand sanitizer 18.5 percent higher than the three month average. High prices during February were at times more than double the average cost of the same product over a 90-day time period.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Public Health

Food Recall Failure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million Americans contract a food borne illness yearly with 128,000 people hospitalized and 3,000 dead as a result of these illnesses. 

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Blog Post

Smoke is Not a Joke | Gina Werdel

Wild fires in the West have created some of the worst air quality of anywhere in the world right now. This isn't just an issue for children or people with pre-existing conditions, it's a health risk for everyone.

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Blog Post | Higher Ed

College students have been left behind. What’s the plan to support them?

Unnecessary costs for course materials, such as paying for access codes, are making a bad situation worse. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Transportation

Riding a bus, subway or rideshare? Here’s a look at safety measures adopted to combat COVID-19 | Jacob van Cleef

From mask mandates to capacity limits, the largest public transit systems and ride share companies have new procedures

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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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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.

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Pages

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

Blog Post

Here’s a guide to your rights depending on how you pay

Blog Post

Wild fires in the West have created some of the worst air quality of anywhere in the world right now. This isn't just an issue for children or people with pre-existing conditions, it's a health risk for everyone.

News Release

A resolute dedication to democratic ideals coupled with the wisdom to recognize how and when to see the task through to completion: Advocates for all causes would do well to emulate the qualities that made Justice Ginsburg a truly historic figure. We offer our condolences to her children and grandchildren. The country she worked so hard to improve will miss her.

Blog Post

Unnecessary costs for course materials, such as paying for access codes, are making a bad situation worse. 

Public Health

Responding to the COVID crisis

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, protect consumers from emerging dangers and ensure people can still participate fully in our democracy.

 

COVID-19

Shut down, start over, do it right

Top health experts from Oregon and across the country called on Gov. Kate Brown to shut the state down in response to recent surges in COVID-19 cases. Building on OSPIRG’s work to track critical public health metrics around the containment of COVID-19 in Oregon, the letter also recommends that Oregon significantly ramp up its testing and contact tracing capacity.

 

Consumer Protection

As the pandemic goes on, consumer complaints continue at a record pace

A U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis has found that since March 2020, public consumer complaints at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have skyrocketed, setting a new monthly record each month. During this period, one in five complaints concerning mortgages, student loans or vehicle financing has mentioned the coronavirus crisis.

 

COVID-19

Oregon legislators join national call for an end to coronavirus-related online price gouging

On April 9, 18 Oregon state legislators joined U.S. PIRG Education Fund in sending a letter urging prominent online retailers to prevent price gouging on their platforms. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the cost of critical health supplies has spiked dramatically on online platforms, analysis released by OSPIRG Foundation found.

 
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