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

News Release | Health Care

Our Statement in Opposition to Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

The latest version of health care legislation before the U.S. Senate remains very dangerous for American consumers, and we urge a “no” vote.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Health Care

CALPIRG-backed bill for prescription drug price transparency heads to the Governor’s desk

We applaud the legislature for passing SB 17, authored by State Senator Ed Hernandez, to require the prescription drug companies to give 60-day advance notice before they increase prices, and require an explanation for the increase. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

Pulling Back the Curtain on Prescription Drug Prices | Emily Rusch

One of the big outstanding issues for the California state Legislature to tackle this year is the soaring cost of prescription drugs. CALPIRG is strongly backing SB 17 and other bills to increase transparency and accountability in the prescription drug industry. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Our Statement on the Failure of the US Senate Health Care Bill

American consumers can breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislation that was narrowly defeated in the US Senate last night threatened to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Our Statement on Senate Health Care Bill

Statement by Jesse Ellis O’Brien, CALPIRG Health Care Advocate, on public release of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” 

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News Release | CALPIRG | Health Care

CALPIRG-backed bill for prescription drug price transparency heads to the Governor’s desk

We applaud the legislature for passing SB 17, authored by State Senator Ed Hernandez, to require the prescription drug companies to give 60-day advance notice before they increase prices, and require an explanation for the increase. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Our Statement on the Failure of the US Senate Health Care Bill

American consumers can breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislation that was narrowly defeated in the US Senate last night threatened to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Our Statement on Senate Health Care Bill

Statement by Jesse Ellis O’Brien, CALPIRG Health Care Advocate, on public release of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Great News for Consumers: Anthem Drops Bid to Take Over Cigna

This morning, health insurance giant Anthem dropped its troubled bid to take over one of its top competitors, Cigna. A February district court decision to block the proposed merger on anti-trust grounds was recently upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, but with Anthem’s decision today, this anti-competitive takeover bid is finally laid to rest. This development comes after months of work by CALPIRG and a broad coalition of consumer and health care groups, urging close scrutiny of the merger from state and federal regulators and raising questions and concerns about the potential impact on consumers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Our Statement on House Passage of the American Health Care Act

Today’s House vote is a big step in the wrong direction for American consumers and the American health care system. It’s no secret that there are plenty of problems with health care in America, but the AHCA in its current form not only won’t address the real problems in our health care system—it is likely to make them worse.

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Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

Top Twenty Pay-For-Delay Drugs

Californians with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and Community Catalyst.

 

 

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Review of Anthem's Rate Increase on Individual Policies

CALPIRG Education Fund has reviewed a massive new rate increase proposal from Anthem Blue Cross. 340,000 Californians can expect to see rates increase an average of 20% this year, with some as high as 24.9%. CALPIRG Ed Fund has recommended that the California Department of Insurance request that Anthem amend the rate change or make an official determination that the proposed rate change is unreasonable.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Health Care

CALPIRG joint letter on Consumer protection for “California Covered”

CALPIRG joins a coalition of consumer advocates in preventing risks to consumers using the new health benefits exchange known as “California Covered.”

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Comments on the Aetna Life Insurance Company Proposal to Increase Rates

Nearly 70,000 Californians in small group insurance plans will see rate hikes averaging 8%, with some as high as 22%, if the premium rate hike proposed by Aetna Life Insurance Company go forward. After careful analysis of Aetna’s filing, CALPIRG is concerned that Aetna has not provided sufficient information to justify this rate increase.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Your Price May Vary

New report finds that the price charged for common surgeries varies dramatically from one region to another within California.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Pro-Consumer Healthcare Bills Pass Legislature, Await Governor's Signature | Jason Pfeifle

Late last week the California State Legislature passed a series of bills designed to help prevent unfair medical charges, excessive health insurance rates, and misleading information about access to health care providers. Together these bills, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, will help promote a more consumer friendly and affordable health care system in California.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Health Care

Supreme Court hears arguments on ‘Pay for Delay’ Case

Big Pharma’s anti-competitive practice costs consumers $3.5 billion a year. The 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act was originally intended to increase the availability of generic drugs by allowing generic manufacturers to challenge the patents of name-brand drugs. What emerged in the aftermath was a practice where patent-holding pharmaceutical companies simply paid generic manufacturers not to challenge their patents, thus delaying the release of generic drugs for years. 

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Blog Post | Health Care

We're not done yet: Next steps for CA health care | Pedro Morillas

The Supreme Court has upheld the national health care law, and this is really good news for consumers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Health Care

The Almighty Dollar before Health and Safety of Americans | Jon Fox

A recent op-ed is completely correct in its assumptions that anti-regulations rhetoric from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is incessantly talking about regulations killing jobs and the economy.

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

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