Making Health Care Work

LOWERING HEALTH CARE COSTS—We’re working to cut costs by cutting waste and focusing on prevention and care that get results.

LOWER COSTS, BETTER CARE

It’s a big year for health care. Many people have new options for coverage. And new protections are making existing health insurance work better. Take a look at our latest resources to help you make the most of the changes:

Health Insurance Tips - Top tips on getting the best deal on health insurance, and information about new consumer protections

So You Need Health Insurance, Now What? - The new young person's guide to health insurance

We’re excited to get the word out about these new options and consumer protections. But we also know there’s more to do to really make health care work across America. That’s why we’re advancing new initiatives to cut waste, improve care, and give consumers more control over their health.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

The state and federal health insurance marketplaces can help consumers and small businesses find a better deal on health coverage, with tools to compare plans, and information about new financial help. We’re working to make sure these marketplaces meet their potential to boost competition, reduce costs and improve quality.

Health Insurance Rate Watch

It’s time for health insurance companies to get serious about lowering the cost of care by cutting waste and focusing on preventive care that gets results – instead of raising deductibles and hiking premiums. We’re tracking insurers’ health insurance rate increase proposals, and working to strengthen protections for consumers and small businesses against excessive rates.

Fighting the High Cost of Rx Drugs

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans spend at least $3.5 billion more than they should have to on prescription drugs every year. That’s because drug companies use a practice called “pay for delay” to pay off their competitors to delay availability of the lower priced generic version of the drug. We’re working to put a stop to this practice.


Learn more about our priority campaign to end the pharmaceutical industry's scheme to delay cheaper drugs from entering the market:

Issue updates

Result | Health Care

KEEPING HEALTH CARE AFFORDABLE

Across the country, U.S. PIRG has stood up against unjustified rate hikes and won victories in Oregon and California so far. Thanks in part to our advocacy, California now requires insurers to justify rate hikes to the public, and Oregon state regulators recently cut a proposed 22% rate hike almost in half, saving $12.5 million for some ratepayers.  

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Making the Grade

This report assesses the progress that the states have made, and for the states that have begun to set up their health care exchange, evaluates them on the myriad policies and criteria that will determine whether it is ultimately successful in improving health care for consumers.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Nationwide Survey of New Health Exchanges Shows How to Lower Costs for Consumers

Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and other states should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by consumer group U.S. PIRG.  Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014. The report closely examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

New Health Exchange Rules Put States in the Driver's Seat

The draft rules released today by the federal Department of Health and Human Services put states in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting up new health benefits exchanges.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

The creation of a new health insurance exchange offers our state the chance to build a better marketplace for health care.  The exchange can help individuals and small businesses by increasing competition and improving choices in the state’s insurance market.  By providing better options and better information, and negotiating on behalf of its enrollees, the exchange can level the playing field for consumers.

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Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

Playing by Their Own Rules

Drug companies spend billions annually marketing their latest, most expensive drugs to doctors. These marketing efforts do not rely solely on scientific research and medical benefits, however; they employ a barrage of gifts, expensive meals, and wine-and-dine events to gain access to doctors. The result is that doctors looking for objective data about the efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals are ensnared by this system, and find it increasingly easy to look to the drug companies for information.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying the Price 2006

During the spring of 2006, researchers from the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) posed as uninsured customers and surveyed by phone hundreds of pharmacies in 35 cities across the country to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 10 prescription drugs commonly used by adults under age 65. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge the federal government; with prices at a Canadian pharmacy; and with the results of a similar survey we completed in 2004.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Turning Medicine Into Snake Oil

Prescription drug marketers are inundating doctors, and to a lesser extent, the public, with marketing that misrepresents risks, promotes unproven uses, and makes unsubstantiated claims. The false and misleading messages are communicated through conventional advertising, sales representatives, doctors speaking on behalf of drug marketers, and through clinical trial suppression, manipulation and misrepresentation. Sadly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ineffective at addressing the problems.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Paying the Price 2004

In late summer of 2004, the PIRGs conducted a survey of more than 400 pharmacies in 19 states across the country and Washington, DC to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 12 prescription drugs commonly used by adults under age 65. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge one of their “most favored” customers, the federal government, and also with the prices paid by consumers in Canada.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying the Price 2003

In the spring of 2003, the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) conducted a survey of more than 500 pharmacies in 18 states across the country and Washington, D.C. to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 10 common prescription drugs. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge one of their “most favored” customers, the federal government.

> Keep Reading

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Support us

We’ve got a chance to clean up the health care industry, but with lobbyists lining the halls of state capitols across the country, we need your support.

PRIORITY ACTION

Tell your senator that patients can't afford to wait another day. We need to end "Pay for Delay" right now.

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