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 | Transportation

Nader's "Unsafe At Any Speed" 55th Anniversary! | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, on the 55th anniversary of Ralph Nader's landmark "Unsafe at Any Speed," about the built-in dangers of 1960s cars, as exemplified by the General Motors Corvair, his colleagues led by Joan Claybrook have published a new report: "Safer Vehicles and Highways: 4.2 million U.S. Lives Spared Since 1966." The report makes recommendations to President-elect Joe Biden about how to revitalize and strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which Claybrook ran during the Jimmy Carter administration.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

20 Questions to Ask Your Nursing Home during COVID | Teresa Murray

Whether you have a loved one currently in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, or whether you’re shopping for one, you should arm yourself with a list of questions to gauge how safe the environment is. Here’s a guide to those questions, and the answers you should expect.

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Blog Post

California is uncovering secret ingredients in cosmetics | Gina Werdel

The FDA allows cosmetic companies to hide toxic fragrance ingredients from consumers. But this fall, California passed a landmark bill to change this.

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

Governor Kate Brown makes the right call to save lives

 

Gov. Brown announced today that she will be expanding the novel coronavirus (COVID19) restrictions, including restricting restaurants and bars to takeout only and prohibiting visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19, Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

Coalition calls for immediate action to protect Oregon’s most financially vulnerable amid pandemic

The Stop the Debt Trap Alliance, a coalition of organizations representing diverse constituents across Oregon delivered a letter to Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon legislative leadership urging them to take action to protect Oregonians from the economic impacts of COVID-19, especially those who are already economically vulnerable

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

Reopening Multnomah County is inconsistent with both Gov. Brown’s plan and CDC Guidance

OSPIRG supports Oregon mask-use order, consolidation of metro areas for reopening purposes, criticizes decision to reopen Multnomah County despite its failure to meet multiple state benchmarks.

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News Release | OSPIRG | COVID-19

Rural Oregon Counties are suffering uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19

COVID-19 infections have been rising in Oregon over the last two weeks, following several major outbreaks in rural Licoln and Union counties.  OSPIRG calls on the state to take immediate action, possibly including the reimposition of lockdowns, to contain the spread before it gets out of control.

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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.

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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.

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Report | OSPIRG | Budget

Following the Money 2018

All 50 states now operate websites to make information on state expenditures accessible to the public. All but four states provide checkbook-level data for one or more economic development subsidy programs and more than half of states make that subsidy data available for researchers to download and analyze. These websites not only provide citizens with useful information, they are regularly used by citizens; in 2017 alone, at least 1.5 million users viewed over 8.7 million pages on state transparency websites.

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Report

OSPIRG 2018 Legislative Scorecard

The Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), a non-profit, non-partisan advocate for the public interest, monitors the voting records of Oregon’s state legislators.

Do your legislators support the public interest? Their votes on key public interest issues are shown below.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group | Health Care

Improving Price Transparency

Opaque and unavailable prices for health care services violate the basic consumer right to know in advance about the price of goods or services. When consumers are asked to make decisions about care without access to meaningful price information, they are unable to make informed decisions in high-stakes situations that can profoundly affect their future health and financial security. Improving the price transparency of health care services isn’t just about fulfilling a basic consumer right – it is also a critical step in diagnosing and addressing the high cost of health care. 

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Public Health

In Your Face

The negative health effects of asbestos are well-known. Most people may associate asbestos contamination with the workplace or decades-old construction material, but alarmingly, recent media reports have found asbestos contamination in kids' makeup from popular stores. PIRG decided to do its own asbestos testing at an accredited laboratory.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Plugging In

The adoption of large numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) offers many benefits for cities, including cleaner air and the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles are far cleaner than gasoline-powered cars, with lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower emissions of the pollutants that contribute to smog and particulate matter.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Home safe for the holidays | Matt Wellington

Public Health Campaigns Director Matt Wellington and Dr. Syra Madad detail how people can safely gather this holiday season in the era of COVID-19.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Why can I still buy toxic hand sanitizer? | Teresa Murray

The FDA doesn’t have the authority to stop retailers from selling dangerous over-the-counter products such as toxic hand sanitizer. Our safety system is broken, and we need to fix it. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Tenant protections from eviction and utility cutoffs vary by state | Jacob van Cleef

The CDC implemented the eviction freeze on Sept. 4 to reduce the number of people on the streets who could get infected with and spread the COVID-19 virus. Landlords and other groups filed lawsuits attempting to strike down the halt on evictions, so the future of the policy remains uncertain.

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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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Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste, Transportation

Before we spend $2 trillion, report recommends a 'Blueprint for Tomorrow'

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.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

State PIRGs go to Washington for Consumer Lobby Day

Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?

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Blog Post

California jury: Monsanto a "substantial factor" in couple's cancer, awards $2 billion in damages

For the third time in 2019, a jury has determined there is enough evidence to hold Monsanto's Roundup culpable in causing someone's cancer.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Congressional testimony underscores how predatory auto loans are driving Americans into debt

In most of the country, owning a car is all but required. And we're paying for it—to the tune of $1.2 trillion. This is putting the financial well-being of millions of Americans at risk, and OSPIRG and our national network are calling for change.

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Blog Post | Make VW Pay, Transportation

Some states are spending funds from VW 'Dieselgate' settlement on diesel

When it comes to clean transportation, most U.S. states are underutilizing funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities for violating emissions standards.

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Blog Post

 

In 2018, OSPIRG helped pass a prescription drug price transparency program in order to better understand why prescriptions cost so much and to protect consumers from unexpected price increases. Now in its second year, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services released the results from 2020 reporting. Here are some key takeaways:

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

McDonald’s announced a commitment to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging used in its restaurants by 2025. PFAS are linked to kidney and liver problems, high cholesterol, reduced immune system function, and cancer.

Blog Post

With vaccines here, it may soon be time to reschedule vacations and other trips for later this year

Blog Post

There is no worse feeling than getting a large unexpected bill in the mail. And in the case of a surprise medical bill, it usually comes at the worst time - when you are home recovering from an illness or injury. But most of those bills will soon be a thing of the past.

Blog Post

No, you don't have to pay a 'small processing fee' to claim your $600 payment

Safe Energy

Oregon's last coal plant closes 20 years ahead of deadline

In a victory for Oregon's air quality, Portland General Electric (PGE) has permanently closed its Boardman coal-fired power plant, 20 years ahead of the deadline mandated by a 2010 legal agreement to settle charges that the plant was violating the federal Clean Air Act. PGE is currently developing hydro, solar and wind projects to replace the power from the plant.

 

COVID-19

Nursing Home Safety During COVID: PPE Shortages

A report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group found that nationally, the number of nursing homes out of PPE actually tripled between July and August.

 

Consumer Protection

Auto Loan Complaints Rise

A review of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database reveals a sharp spike in consumer complaints about auto purchasing, leasing and finance since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

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.

 
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