Making Health Care Work

HOLDING HEALTH INSURERS ACCOUNTABLE—CALPIRG is working to make sure health insurers are providing affordable, high-quality care, and not trying to increase profits at our expense.

LOWER COSTS, BETTER CARE

After years of fighting for the right policies and fighting attacks on health care reform, the state's new health insurance marketplace has opened its doors. Covered California is now offering millions of Californians new choices for health insurance.

From the beginning, CALPIRG has worked to make sure the marketplace would use the buying power of millions of Californians to aggressively push insurers for better deals, more competition and changes in how we pay for health care. The plans announced in California are expected to reduce the cost of health insurance for most individuals, while often offering better benefits.

Thanks to new CALPIRG-supported consumer protections, Californians will not be denied coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions. Prices will not vary by gender. Insurers won't be able to set lifetime maximum dollars amounts for health care, and limits on maximum out-of-pocket costs will protect Californians from medical bankruptcy. All policies sold on the marketplace must cover preventive care, prescription drugs, contraception, medical screenings (e.g., mammograms) and other essential benefits, such as pediatric, mental health, maternity and rehabilitation services.

CALPIRG is continuing to work to provide consumers with access to high-quality, affordable care.

  1. Throughout 2013 and 2014, we plan to educate half a million Californians about our new health insurance options and consumer protections, now in place thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Check out our new health insurance guide for young people.
  2. In fall 2012, we launched our Health Insurance Rate Watch project to investigate rate hikes, and to push back against the industry when those proposed hikes are unjustified. See here for a recent victory for California consumers.
  3. We are fighting the high cost of prescription drugs.
  4. We are calling on the legislature to hold health insurance companies accountable for making sure they are reining in excessive prices and unnecessary paperwork, and to give state officials the power to prohibit insurers from increasing rates if they aren't.

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

Issue updates

Blog Post | Health Care

To stop skyrocketing drug prices, the government needs to start negotiating | Patricia Kelmar

 It’s time for Congress to enact a common-sense solution to bring down drug prices

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care, Solid Waste

Medical Right to Repair Movement gains steam as SB 605 passes second committee

Senate Bill (SB) 605, The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, passed through its second committee in a 9-0 vote on Tuesday evening. This bill, previously heard and passed unanimously by the Senate Health Committee, was authored by state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care, Solid Waste

After COVID-19 Laid Issues Bare, Medical Right to Repair (SB 605) Passes Health Committee Overwhelmingly

The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, Senate Bill (SB) 605, passed through its first committee Wednesday in a bipartisan, unanimous vote. The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, is the first right-to-repair legislation to advance out of committee in California.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care, Solid Waste

Medical Right to Repair Movement gains steam as SB 605 passes second committee

Senate Bill (SB) 605, The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, passed through its second committee in a 9-0 vote on Tuesday evening. This bill, previously heard and passed unanimously by the Senate Health Committee, was authored by state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care, Solid Waste

After COVID-19 Laid Issues Bare, Medical Right to Repair (SB 605) Passes Health Committee Overwhelmingly

The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, Senate Bill (SB) 605, passed through its first committee Wednesday in a bipartisan, unanimous vote. The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, is the first right-to-repair legislation to advance out of committee in California.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care

Matter of life or death: California bill would allow hospitals to repair critical medical equipment

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put extreme stress on the U.S. healthcare system and workers, California introduced the Medical Device Right to Repair Act (SB 605). The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, would require manufacturers of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, to provide repair parts and information to hospital technicians and other third-party servicers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care

Report: Nursing homes endure massive PPE shortages

California nursing homes, along with thousands nationwide, are dealing with horrific shortages of masks, gowns and other items they need to protect residents, workers and the broader community from COVID-19, according to “Nursing home safety during COVID: PPE shortages,” a report by the CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Health Care

Proprietary medical device repair harms hospitals, could threaten patients, during COVID-19 pandemic

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.

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Result | Health Care

Consumer-Friendly Health Care

In the fall of 2015, the state Legislature passed a series of CALPIRG-backed bills designed to help promote a more consumer-friendly and affordable health care system in California. State Bill (SB) 137 will give consumers accurate, up-to-date information about their health plan’s network; Assembly Bill (AB) 339 will ensure people with chronic health conditions are not discriminated against by insurers; AB 1305 will limit deductibles and annual out-of-pocket maximums for individual members of families; and SB 546 will require health insurance companies to justify rate increases for large employers’ health insurance plans.

> Keep Reading
Result | Health Care

New Health Care Marketplace Opens

We helped win real reforms that led to the creation of a new California health care marketplace, Covered California. New health insurance options are now available to small businesses and individuals that could save consumers a lot of money. Consumers are able to make choices based not only on cost, and access to care, but the quality of that care.

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Result | Health Care

Pro-consumer Health Care Reform

CALPIRG’s advocacy helped ensure the health care law will bring down costs by setting up a competitive health insurance marketplace. In 2010, California became the first state in the country to begin setting up our state health insurance exchange.

> Keep Reading
Result | Health Care

Fighting To Make Health Care Affordable

Thanks to a new CALPIRG-backed law, insurance companies actually have to justify rate hikes to the public, bringing some much-needed accountability. Thanks in part to the new law — and public pressure, including 1,200 public comments from CALPIRG supporters — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California both backed off of double-digit rate hikes.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

California Health Insurance Rate Review: the First Five Years

In this brief, CALPIRG examines the implementation of rate review in California, and the results it has achieved for consumers and small employers across the state. Our analysis includes posted rate filings that were scheduled to go into effect between January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2016.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Health Insurance Rate Watch: Comments on the Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company Proposal

Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company has proposed increasing rates on April 1, 2015 for nearly170,000 people who obtain their health insurance through 28 grandfathered plans offered by Anthem. CALPIRG Education Fund's Health Insurance Rate Watch project reviewed Anthem’s filing documents and found that Anthem failed to provide adequate justification for its proposed rate increase. 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Health Insurance Rate Watch: Comments on Blue Shield Rate Filing

Blue Shield has proposed rate increases as high as 9.7 percent for policyholders in its “grandfathered” health insurance plans, those that were established before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, affecting 40,070 Californians currently covered under the plans. CALPIRG Education Fund's Health Insurance Rate Watch project reviewed Blue Shield's rate filing and raised a number of questions and concerns to the California Department of Insurance. 

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Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

California Health Insurance Rate Review

In its first three years, health insurance rate review in California has saved consumers and small businesses $349 million.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Comments on the Anthem Blue Cross Proposal to Raise Health Insurance Rates

Anthem Blue Cross has proposed rate increases as high as 24.9% for policyholders in their “grandfathered” health insurance plans that were established before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The rate changes average out to a 16 percent increase for 153,000 policyholders, impacting a total of 238,000 Californians currently covered under the plans. Our review found that Anthem failed to provide adequate justification for this rate increase.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Health Care

To stop skyrocketing drug prices, the government needs to start negotiating | Patricia Kelmar

 It’s time for Congress to enact a common-sense solution to bring down drug prices

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

California health care bill promises to slash drug costs

 

It's called "pay for delay": One prescription drug company pays another to keep a generic drug out of the marketplace.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

Prescription Drug Price Hikes Coming in January | Emily Rusch

Today Reuters broke a story about at least 30 drugmakers that are planning to raise their U.S. prices on medicine in January 2019. The information was gathered thanks to California bill SB 17, authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, supported by CALPIRG, and signed into law last year.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Health Care

California health care bill promises to slash drug costs

 

It's called "pay for delay": One prescription drug company pays another to keep a generic drug out of the marketplace.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

 It’s time for Congress to enact a common-sense solution to bring down drug prices

News Release | CALPIRG

Senate Bill (SB) 605, The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, passed through its second committee in a 9-0 vote on Tuesday evening. This bill, previously heard and passed unanimously by the Senate Health Committee, was authored by state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman.

News Release | CALPIRG

The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, Senate Bill (SB) 605, passed through its first committee Wednesday in a bipartisan, unanimous vote. The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, is the first right-to-repair legislation to advance out of committee in California.

Health Care

Victory: Medical debt to be scrubbed from consumers' credit reports

One in 5 American households report having medical debt. Now, new credit industry policies will help keep that debt from hurting their credit.

 

Health Care | U.S. PIRG

Searching for common ground on caregiving

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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