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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
Portland typically ranks near the top when it comes to cities with the best public transportation. But according to a new report from OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group, an expensive proposal to widen I-5 in the Rose Quarter would run counter to the city’s reputation. The $450 million project would increase highway lanes in the project area by 50 percent, with extra-wide shoulders to potentially accommodate an even higher-capacity freeway in the future.
America’s aging roads and bridges need fixing. Our car-dependent transportation system is dangerous, harms our communities, and is the nation’s leading source of global warming pollution. And more than ever before, it is clear that America needs to invest in giving people healthier, more sustainable transportation options.
Yet year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and key transportation priorities. Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals.
The media are reporting that efforts led by BigTech and BigPhone to push Congress to enact a self-serving umbrella privacy law on Capitol Hill are stalling. But that's only for now; they are still pushing hard. Pushback from legislators with stronger state laws is helping slow them down. So are the welcome efforts of civil rights colleagues to demand that digital and algorithmic decisions not discriminate. There's an important civil rights briefing later this afternoon on Capitol Hill. Learn more.
Oregon's Senate voted unanimously to advance HB 2658 to the Governor's desk, 25-0. This bill requires pharmaceutical manufactuers to provide 60-days advance notice before implementing substantial price hikes on prescription drugs. Advance notice gives patients and health benefit companies time to plan around price hikes instead of being blindsided. A similar policy in California has bee associated with rollbacks of several planned price increases over the summer of 2018.
For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.
Antibiotics | U.S. PIRG
A recent estimate suggests that as many as 162,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections every year. We delivered a message to Wendy’s CEO and shareholders: Get antibiotics out of your beef supply chain.
Transportation | U.S. PIRG
Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does our state rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?
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