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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. 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.
 Institute of Medicine at the National Academies, Sept 2012, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America".
 CNN, March 2010, "Prescription for Waste"
 OSPIRG blog, October 2013, "Thousand Dollar Ointment".
 Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data
President Biden's recent Executive Order on promoting competition in the economy includes several specific recommendations on improving competition in the financial sector. It proposes that the CFPB give consumers more choices by giving them control of their financial data. It proposes that regulators strengthen oversight of bank mergers, which for years have been routinely rubber-stamped. While it doesn't specifically address the payment system oligopoly that raises the prices everyone pays, lowering swipe fees is also a logical outcome of the EO.
Cover photo of the Marriner Eccles Federal Reserve Building, Washington, DC by Rafael Saldaña via Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.
The Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (VCFCA) was reintroduced in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Wednesday. This bill would limit interest rates on loans and go a long way toward protecting consumers, especially veterans, who are often victimized by predatory lenders.
An OSPIRG report revealed that 40 percent of Oregon voters have avoided treatment because of health care costs in the past year — and many have suffered worse health outcomes as a result. Now, Oregonians are ready for a change in how they get their health care and many are in favor a public option.
Cutting wasteful handouts to special interests that prop up polluting industries related to these categories will reduce pollution and free up money that can be spent on modern infrastructure investments.
OSPIRG has launched Voices for Better Care, a website dedicated to those across the Beaver State who share our goal of improving the quality and value of Oregon health care. Stories shared on the site highlight common problems, such as high prescription drug costs or expensive insurance premiums, that personally affect thousands of Oregonians.
For those who receive medical treatment at a hospital or emergency room within their insurance network, surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers are costly, unfair and surprisingly common. That's why OSPIRG has launched a consumer education campaign on what surprise medical bills are and what rights and protections Oregonians have.
Your donation supports OSPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.