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 | OSPIRG | COVID-19

OSPIRG supports Governor Brown’s “pause” on Reopening, as COVID-19 cases surge in many areas of Oregon

Following call from OSPIRG this Wednesday to delay further reopening of Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced tonight that she would put a one week "pause" on all pending county reopenings.  OSPIRG supports Gov. Brown's science driven reopening plan, and the desicion to pump the brakes as COVID-19 cases rise in many counties.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG

OSPIRG supports Governor Brown’s “pause” on Reopening, as COVID-19 cases surge in many areas of Oregon

Following call from OSPIRG this Wednesday to delay further reopening of Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced tonight that she would put a one week "pause" on all pending county reopenings.  OSPIRG supports Gov. Brown's science driven reopening plan, and the desicion to pump the brakes as COVID-19 cases rise in many counties.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

CFPB complaint volume sets another record in May | Ed Mierzwinski

As of today, consumer complaints to the CFPB set a third straight monthly record in May, with 35,093 complaints reported. Complaints about credit reporting lead by far, followed by debt collection, credit card and mortgage complaints. Job and income losses during the pandemic are hitting families hard.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

COVID cases are rising faster than ever in Oregon - It’s time to pump the brakes on reopening | Numi Lee Griffith

4 weeks after Oregon counties began to reopen, confirmed COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are rising.  The state must deny Multnomah County “Phase I” status until cases begin to fall again, and should delay any further “Phase II” approvals until ongoing outbreaks are contained.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

COVID cases are rising faster than ever in Oregon - It’s time to pump the brakes on reopening | Numi Lee Griffith

4 weeks after Oregon counties began to reopen, confirmed COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are rising.  The state must deny Multnomah County “Phase I” status until cases begin to fall again, and should delay any further “Phase II” approvals until ongoing outbreaks are contained.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19, Health Care

Hospital repair professionals: Just let us fix life-saving devices like ventilators

OSPIRG delivered a letter to Gov. Kate Brown Monday, signed by 326 hospital repair experts from around the country, including 6 in Oregon, calling for manufacturers to stop withholding what technicians need to fix medical equipment like ventilators. It’s part of OSPIRG’s larger Right to Repair Campaign, which aims to remove unnecessary barriers to repair that drive up costs for product owners and increase electronic waste. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

As Oregon starts reopening, OSPIRG pushes for cautious approach

OSPIRG released a statement today approving of Oregon’s cautious reopening, warning that consumers should continue to take precautions.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

OSPIRG Supports Oregon’s Science Driven “Reopen Oregon” Framework

On May 7, 2020 OSPIRG released this statement in support of Governor Brown’s “Reopen Oregon” framework.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | COVID-19

Health pros call for transparent, central coordination from Trump administration

U.S. PIRG, Get Us PPE, Doctors for America, and several other health groups, along with nearly 300 medical professionals, sent a letter to the Trump Administration on Friday calling for central coordination of the medical supply chain and comprehensive testing infrastructure.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Americans need stronger consumer protections during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a report with the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action. The report makes recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to upgrade its consumer complaint tool, including the public consumer complaint database, so COVID19-related complaints can be handled more quickly and tracked better.

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Result | Budget, Tax

OSPIRG Brings Transparency to Major Tax Subsidy

After OSPIRG filed a petition for public records order, the Oregon Department of Justice ordered Business Oregon, the state's business development department, to release data about the Strategic Investment Program--a major tax subsidy program estimated to cost Oregon taxpayers $322 million over the next two years, stating that there is a “strong public interest” in disclosing the information.

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Result | Budget, Tax

MAKING GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC

This year, the Oregon Legislature passed a groundbreaking new law in 2011 that will allow the public to see exactly which companies are receiving tax subsidies and what taxpayers get in return.

> Keep Reading

FUNDING FASTER TRAINS FOR OREGON

OSPIRG Executive Director Dave Rosenfeld recently joined the statewide Rail Funding Task Force. This group, which also includes business leaders from across the state, will recommend the best way to fund Oregon’s rail system.

> Keep Reading
Result | Health Care

MAKING HEALTH CARE AFFORDABLE

OSPIRG Health Care Advocate Laura Etherton helped lead efforts to require Oregon health insurers to meet tougher standards to prove premium increases are reasonable. Prompted in part by OSPIRG advocacy, Oregon officials scaled back a request by United Healthcare to raise health insurance rates by nearly 17%, saving 14,000 Oregonians a cumulative $4 million in 2011.

> Keep Reading
Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Democracy

Small donors driving 2020 presidential race

U.S. PIRG analyzed the campaign finance reports from 2020 candidates. We found that small donations, and the people who provide them, have a significant voice in the presidential race.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation

What are Oregonians Fixing?

Here in Oregon, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful, so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG

OSPIRG 2019 Legislative Scorecard

OSPIRG compiled this scorecard as a tool for the public to know how their lawmakers voted on key public interest issues. This year, we scored the 12 bills.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 5

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.

 

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Deschutes County is Open, and COVID-19 Cases are Surging - Oregon says it will reimpose lockdowns when outbreaks emerge. Here’s its chance to follow through. | Numi Lee Griffith

Oregon has a solid plan to reopen, but the State must stick with it to both loosen restrictions and keep Oregonians safe.  Improved transparency and more consistent application of the reopening benchmarks is needed to do so.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

“Life and death” -- Medical equipment repairers push for Right to Repair during COVID-19 pandemic | Nathan Proctor

As manufacturers block access to manuals and other fix-it information, biomedical repair technicians press for reform.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

31 Oregon Counties Get a Green-light to Reopen - Now We’ll Find Out if We’re Ready | Numi Lee Griffith

Oregon has given a green light to 31 counties to begin lifting public safety restrictions put in place to contain the novel coronavirus.  However, the state as a whole still falls short of many of the benchmarks public health experts recommend states should meet before relaxing social distancing- we’re about to find out if the state is really ready to reopen.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

U.S. PIRG Supports Automated Contact Tracing Because More Than Anything Else, America Needs Good Information Before It Can Safely Lift Stay-At-Home Rules | Ed Mierzwinski

This blog explains U.S. PIRG's support for automated warning and contact tracing, subject to appropriate privacy and civil liberties protections, which can provide critical information quickly about who has potentially been exposed.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

My Testing Story | Laura Deehan

A guest blog from my colleague, Lisa Frank, from our grants team, sharing her story of testing for coronavirus.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post

Rather than require warning labels for Roundup, Trump administration moves to prohibit them

Does the public have a right to know that researchers for the World Health Organization say the widely used herbicide Roundup is a probable carcinogen?

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Democracy

Scorecard shines light on how your state legislators voted

How did your state representatives vote on issues that affect your health, safety and well-being?

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

In the wake of the Capital One data breach, Ed Mierzwinski and Adam Garber explain how to protect your credit

Were you affected by the Capital One breach, one of the largest thefts of data from any bank to date?

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Not one, not two, but four more states ban single-use plastic bags

The number of statewide plastic bag bans in the U.S. tripled in June, with Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon adding themselves to the list.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

PIRG Consumer Watchdog: Recalled baby rockers could still be at your child's day care

Adam Garber, the PIRG consumer watchdog, was shocked when he discovered recalled baby rockers at his infant son's day care this June.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | OSPIRG

 

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise nationally,  OSPIRG released its new Weekly Trends & Risk Assessment Report, showing Oregon is making progress towards containing COVID-19, but the virus is still spreading widely enough to merit caution.This is the third week OSPIRG has provided a snapshot of Oregon’s coronavirus efforts. Last week, Oregon received a “trending poorly” grade. 

Blog Post

U.S. PIRG is calling on municipal, state and federal policymakers to mandate face masks in all indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor locations where it’s hard for people to socially distance six feet apart.

News Release | OSPIRG Foundation

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the equipment that is essential to diagnose and treat patients, such as ventilators. As that equipment is pressed into round-the-clock use, biomedical repair technicians face increasing pressure to maintain and repair all that equipment. However, in too many cases, manufacturers limit access to the essential tools and information these repair experts need. A new report by the OSPIRG Foundation, Hospital Repair Restrictions, details the challenges that medical professionals face as a result of device manufacturers setting up barriers to repair, and outlines steps to take to help hospitals. 

Report | OSPIRG Foundation

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.

Report | OSPIRG

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.”

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.

 

Public Health

Oregon pauses reopening as COVID-19 cases surge

Gov. Kate Brown announced that Oregon will wait one more week to reopen after an increase in COVID-19 cases. We commend Gov. Brown for sticking to a plan built on scientific evidence and we continue to support states following the recommendations of health experts to safely reopen.

 

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.

 

Health Care

Oregon drug prices five times higher than in other countries, report finds

A prescription medication in Oregon, on average, costs five times as much as the most expensive international price. OSPIRG is calling on the Department of Consumer and Business Services  to improve transparency by compelling drug manufacturers to publish their profits, among other information.

 
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