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Making Health Care Work Better
LOWERING HEALTH CARE COSTS—A pro-consumer health insurance exchange would bring competition to the health insurance marketplace, increasing affordability, access and choice for hundreds of thousands of families and small businesses.
Delivering on the Promise of Quality, Affordable Health Care
Now the fight for health care reform is in Denver, and so are the health care industry’s lobbyists.
At stake is how we set up a new insurance marketplace in Colorado — the single biggest tool we have to clean up health care. The new state insurance exchange will allow small businesses, those of us who buy health care on our own, and the uninsured to shop for cheaper health care plans and find some relief from increasingly brutal premiums.
Done right, the exchange will save billions and level the balance of power between consumers and the health care industry — driving the industry to cut waste and prioritize high-quality care.
The health care industry knows how high the stakes are and has spent millions to influence health care reform.
In order to help us fight back against the kind of price jumps and trap-door coverage we’ve all been suffering, CoPIRG is pushing to see that the exchange:
- Increase competition, by forcing health insurance companies to present their plans in standard formats that allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.
- Have high standards, so that bad plans aren’t an option.
- Be open to as many Coloradans as possible. Limits that shut some individuals and businesses out of the exchange would reduce its ability to lower costs — and will be a key tactic that industry lobbyists use to weaken it.
- Negotiates for better plans. By demanding better care for less cost, the exchange can use the collective power of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans to finally demand that the industry do better.
- Be accountable to the public.
The Medicare X Choice Act, newly introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, is poised to transform the discussion about how to fix America’s broken health care system. At first, the bill would offer Medicare-based health care plans in rural areas or regions with only one available insurance plan. By 2024 these options would become available across the country. The senators expect that this low-cost option will increase competition and thereby help reduce health care expenses for Americans and spur innovation in the industry.
Cost containment is is a critical first step in addressing the deep faults in our health care system - it's hard to image fixing problems of access if we continue to be charged $15 for a Tylenol pill or $1,000 for a toothbrush. It turns out that overpriced equipment repair helps add to those inflated costs.
King Bio Inc. issued the second significant voluntary recall since late July of their homeopathic drugs on Wednesday. Safety concerns over homeopathic drugs extend beyond King Bio as over the past several years, the FDA has issued recalls to several companies for a variety of health products from zinc-containing intranasal medicine to asthma drugs with toxic ingredients.
Today, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that aims to loosen up rules for health insurance plans for individuals, families and small businesses. Though the administration touts the potential for lower-cost health insurance under looser rules, this action will not help American consumers. In fact, it is likely to make matters worse by destabilizing the markets Americans rely on for health coverage. American consumers need real action on health care costs, but this simply will not cut it.
Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 17 into law, a groundbreaking measure to increase transparency and accountability for the prescription drug industry. We celebrate the new law—passed with support and hard work from CALPIRG—as a landmark victory for consumers, not just in California, but nationwide.
Health Care | U.S. PIRG
In our politically divided time, it's difficult to see where we can find common ground. But the need to value the work of caring for our loved ones is one such place. PIRG Senior Director of New Economy Campaigns Evan Preston explains in his blog, "Toward Consensus on Caregiving."
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