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

Blog Post | Public Health, Food

EPA’s Pruitt Met with Dow Prior to Favorable RulingDev GowdaKara Cook-Schultz

On March 31st, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that his agency would deny a petition to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos from being sprayed on food. He announced this decision despite EPA scientists’ earlier findings that concluded that chlorpyrifos, which is manufactured by Dow Chemical, can harm brain development of fetuses and infants after ingesting even small amounts. The news that the EPA would continue to allow the spraying of chlorpyrifos alarmed doctors and other public health officials, but what’s even more interesting is that according to several recent Freedom of Information Act requests, Pruitt met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris at a Houston hotel just twenty days prior to making his controversial decision.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Consumer Protection

REPORT: Debt Collection Abuses Leading Source of Servicemember and Veteran Complaints to CFPB

Portland, OR – Debt collection abuses were the leading source (32%) of 44,000 servicemember complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a new report. Further, legislation passed by the U.S. House earlier this month intended to cripple the CFPB would place servicemembers, veterans and their families in “financial harm’s way,” thereby threatening unit preparedness.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Protecting Those Who Serve

The men and women who serve in America’s military are also active consumers in America’s financial marketplace, where tricks and traps can cause harm to their finances and their lives. An analysis of more than 44,000 complaints submitted by active duty servicemembers and military veterans to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and contained in its Consumer Complaint Database finds that mistreatment of servicemembers by financial companies is widespread.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Sloppy Credit Bureaus, Sketchy Credit Doctors Slammed by Trifecta of CFPB, State AGs and Consumer Lawyers | Ed Mierzwinski

In the news this month are several successful efforts to improve credit report accuracy, compensate the victims of credit bureau malfeasance and also to bring some credit repair doctors to heel. Did it take a village? No, it took a combination of strong consumer laws, a strong CFPB, tough state attorneys general working on a bi-partisan basis and, finally, consumer attorneys engaged in private enforcement of the laws as another line of defense. For markets to work fairly, consumers need all these levels of protection.

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Blog Post | Antibiotics

Burger King Takes Action on Antibiotics, Sanderson Farms Takes a Back Seat | Matt Wellington

Last week another major restaurant took action to protect antibiotics, and a major laggard in the meat industry received a much-needed reality check.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax

Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline

Spirit Airlines passengers are most likely to complain about their experience, according to a report released today by OSPIRG Foundation. Among major airlines, Spirit generates the most complaints for its size and generates an increasing number of complaints each year. Other most-complained about firms include Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax

Oregon Receives an “A-” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Oregon received an “A-” and ranked 2nd in the country for government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the OSPIRG Foundation.

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Five Years after Expansion of Oregon’s Lemon Law, OSPIRG Helps Consumers Navigate Their Rights

Five years after Oregon increased consumer protections through an expanded Lemon Law, OSPIRG today released a resource, “Oregon Lemon Law Guide,” to help consumers know their rights under the law when buying a car. 

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax

Despite Improvements in Reporting, Some Information on Economic Development Tax Subsidies Still Remains Out of Public View

A new study released today by OSPIRG Foundation examined the reports made available on Oregon’s transparency website as a result of a three-year old transparency law, and found that while the largest and most widely used economic development subsidy programs covered by the law have information made available to the public online, key information is still shielded from public view.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Consumer Protection

With Tax Season around the Corner, OSPIRG Offers Students Help with Taxes

As tax season approaches and many college students are filing taxes on their own for the first time, OSPIRG today released a guide, “Tackling Your Taxes,” to help students navigate their taxes.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Democracy, Tax

Transparency.gov 2.0

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

More For Your Money

The Oregon Health Fund Board's draft plan's consumer-friendly cost containment provisions have the potential to cut health care costs an estimated $5.4 billion over ten years.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A Better Way to Go

Our transportation system is increasingly out of step with the challenges of the 21st century.  Clean, efficient transit service already saves billions of gallons of oil each year, reduces traffic congestion in our cities, and curbs emissions of pollutants that cause global warming.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Mistakes Do Happen

The most valuable thing we have is our good name. The most common reflection of our reputation as a trustworthy consumer is our credit report. Unfortunately, the information contained in our credit reports, which are bought and sold daily to nearly anyone who requests and pays for them, does not always tell a true story.

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Blog Post | Health Care

The Supreme Court and the High Cost of Rx Drugs | Jesse O'Brien

Everyone knows prescription drugs cost more than they should. But many people are surprised to learn about one of the key ways drug companies keep prices high: Paying off competitors to keep generics off the market.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Senators Hold CFPB Director Hostage, Roil Markets | Ed Mierzwinski

On Friday, most Senate Republicans again sent the President a letter saying they would not confirm Richard Cordray to a full term as CFPB director unless the agency's powers and independence were first gutted. Their intransigence contributes to market uncertainty that ignores at least three things: The CFPB is here to stay; the public wants the CFPB; and, banks lose to payday lenders if the director is not confirmed.

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Blog Post

Portlanders Can't Follow the Money

Portland got a D- for transparency in OSPIRG Foundation's latest report. So, what now?

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Blog Post | Democracy

Voters Rejected Big Money, Called for Reform

Voters in Oregon and across the country stood up against big money in November's elections and called for reform.

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Blog Post | Health Care

A new way of shopping for health insurance gets a trial run | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

 

For the first time, the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange brought in consumers and outside experts to review their designs for their online marketplace. I was there, and here’s some of what I learned.

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Pages

Blog Post

With antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" becoming a growing public health crisis, Domino's Pizza is choosing to fight, rather than address, a call to action.

Blog Post

Nestle is responding to consumer demands to reduce plastic waste.

Blog Post

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided that the economic benefits of spraying antibiotics on millions of citrus trees outweighs the cost of potential antibiotic resistance.

Blog Post

Dozens of people have died. Yet in January, Home Depot was still selling the products that led to their deaths.

Blog Post

Unsafe food recalls in the U.S. are trending the wrong way. From 2013 to 2017, they rose 10 percent overall, and a whopping 83 percent for the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls.

Antibiotics

Stop the overuse of antibiotics

The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the top 10 global health threats. That's why reducing antibiotic overuse in food production is so important.

 

Public Health

How safe is our food?

Our latest report examines recent food safety trends, case studies of national recalls, what they mean for our health, and what we should do about it. 

 

Antibiotics

The golden arches just raised the bar for responsible antibiotic use in meat production

McDonald’s, the largest purchaser of beef in the United States, has made a commitment to reduce medically important antibiotics use in its beef supply.

 

Consumer Protection

Congressional investigation concludes that Equifax breach was entirely preventable

The worst data breach in history could have been prevented with some basic security measures.

 
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