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 | Health Care

OSPIRG applauds Oregon House passage of HB 4018

House Bill 4018A is a small but important step forward for Oregon’s efforts to transform the health care system to contain costs, improve care and improve the health of our communities. The measure now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG | Health Care

Don't be fooled by fake patient groups

AARP Oregon and OSPIRG, the leading senior and consumer advocacy groups in Oregon, are warning voters to watch out for telemarketing scams designed to trick voters into supporting policies that could hurt them.

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Blog Post | Transportation

To Build A 21st Century America, Start Here | Jeff Robinson

The stakes in the current infrastructure debate are high. But what matters most is not the size of any federal infrastructure package, nor how it is financed, nor even how many jobs it creates in the coming years. What matters most is building the infrastructure that will enable America to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation & Frontier Group | Democracy

Big Money in Oregon State Elections

The influence of big money on politics drowns out the voices of regular Oregonians and makes it difficult or impossible for qualified candidates to run for office without access to deep-pocketed donors. We need our government to be open to everyone, regardless the size of their wallet or connections to big donors.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Report: Oregon Large Political Donors Outmatched Small Donors 14 to One in 2016

Days before the Oregon Legislature convenes for a month-long session and considers a proposal to make changes to how elections are financed, OSPIRG Foundation released a report examining the sizable disparity between large donors and small donors in Oregon’s elections. The report finds that in the 2016 election season, just over 700 large donors contributed nearly fourteen times more than all small donors combined – a group comprised of an estimated 31,000 donors.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Democracy

Post Election Update---Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

A new analysis of data through Election Day from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by OSPIRG and Demos shows how big outside spenders drowned out small contributions in 2012: just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving on average $4.7 million each matched the $285.1 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1,425,500 small donors to presidential candidates.

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Media Hit | Health Care

What's Next on Health Care Costs?

Now that the election is over, talk has turned to the need to work together and get results for America. It's a tall order, and on the polarized issue of health care, it may seem at first like an impossible task. But I am hopeful that we can make significant progress together.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

A new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by OSPIRG and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype: new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Higher Bank Fees Now the Norm for Consumers

New report confirms what consumers already know – bank fees are increasing and free checking accounts are harder to find.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Regence rate hike scaled back

State officials have decided to trim Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon’s proposal to raise rates for more than 52,000 Oregonians with individual health insurance plans. Instead of the 9.6% rate hike proposed, the Oregon Insurance Division approved an 8.9% average increase, with some consumers seeing increases as high as 15.6%. Regence does not appear to have resolved many of the problems identified in OSPIRG Foundation's analysis of their proposal. In addition, elements of the decision were based on information that was not made available to the public.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Recalls and Rising Textbook Prices | Brian Rae

Rising Textbook Prices - With Oregon Universities back in class this month, it’s a great time to remind students about ways to avoid rising textbook prices.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Regence Rate Hike Cut Down to 12.8% | Matt Orchant

Some decent news for health insurance consumers today. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) issued their much-awaited decision on Regence BlueCross BlueShield's proposal to raise rates over 22% on nearly 60,000 Oregonians.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform, Transportation

New research: speculation adds 83 cents a gallon to gas prices | David Rosenfeld

Without the influence of large-scale speculative trading on oil in the commodities futures market, the average price of gasoline at the pump in April would have been $3.13 rather than $3.96.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Latest Regence Health Insurance Rate Hike

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is proposing to raise rates an average of 22% on 60,000 Oregonians. This is the fifth straight year of double-digit rate hikes. But this year, something interesting is happening.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Health Care

The Oregonian and health care costs | David Rosenfeld

If you haven't seen the Oregonian's editorial on the Senate's health insurance exchange bill, it's worth a read. Unfortunately, the Oregon Senate decided to prohibit the exchange from negotiating with insurance companies to get consumers a better deal (which I'm sure insurers are happy about.)

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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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