Campaign for Health Care Reform

DEFENDING REFORMS FROM BIG PHARMA—MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings, alongside State Sen. Mark Montigny (New Bedford), urges lawmakers to keep the Rx Gift Ban in place. MASSPIRG is committed to helping keep health costs down for consumers.

BEING A WATCHDOG ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

America’s health care system is structured for drug industry, insurance company, and medical specialty profits, not better health outcomes for you.

The Affordable Care Act was an historic step toward getting health care costs under control, but more needs to be done to protect its solvency as demographics change and costs continue to rise. We can do this without undermining the fundamental compact of ensuring all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care.

Passage of the federal health reform law was a historic achievement, but in Massachusetts it was a continuation of the reforms passed in 2006. Our priority now is to make sure state leaders focus on how on to deliver lower costs and better quality for consumers.

The cost of inaction to Massachusetts’ families would be overwhelming:

• If we don’t get our leaders to squeeze out the health care system's costly inefficiencies, the full cost of premiums will climb to $26,069 for family and $8,845 for individual employer-sponsored insurance by 2016.

• With these projected increases, the cost of a family health insurance policy will be equal to 41.2% of median household income.

To ensure Massachusetts continues to develop leading models of reform, MASSPIRG joined  Campaign for Better Care, a broad coalition of organizations to tackle some of the biggest challenges left in health reform — lowering the cost while promoting more coordinated, efficient and better care.

Issue updates

News Release | MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed by Industry Payoffs

Bay Staters 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 MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Health Care

Top Twenty Pay-for-Delay Drugs

Too often, consumers are forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden, or even go without needed medicine, due to the high cost of brand-name drugs. Our research indicates that one significant cause is the practice called “pay for delay,” which inflates the drug prices paid by tens of millions of Americans.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Big Pharma’s Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Following Supreme Court decision, MASSPIRG calls for Congress to stop all drug companies from paying off generic competition.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Prescription for Danger

The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

DPH Gives Green Light to Big Pharma’s Wining and Dining | Deirdre Cummings

Regulators move will re-open door to drug companies' expensive and biased marketing schemes.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed by Industry Payoffs

Bay Staters 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 MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Health Care

Big Pharma’s Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Following Supreme Court decision, MASSPIRG calls for Congress to stop all drug companies from paying off generic competition.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Health Care

Modest Means Modest

MASSPIRG voiced strong opposition to emergency regulations weakening the state’s prescription and medical device marketing law, specifically allowing drug companies to wine and dine doctors,  at today’s Department of Public Health hearing.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Health Care

Leading consumer, health care and senior and community advocates strong opposition to regulations approved today by the Department of Public Health.

Drug companies are free to ply doctors with lavish multi-course meals and drinks, paid for by pharmaceutical industry marketing budgets, and ultimately tacked on to the price of prescriptions

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Health Care

Health insurers’ earnings plunge for 2nd quarter

Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said that while premium increases have been moderating, businesses and individuals still haven’t felt sufficient relief after enduring a decade of soaring premiums.

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Result | Health Care

Ending Big Pharma’s Giveaways To Doctors

Drugmakers can no longer shower doctors with free gifts, meals and trips to boost the sales of prescription drugs. That’s because we persuaded Beacon Hill leaders to crack down on Pharma’s “direct-to-doctor” marketing practices, which contribute to the spiraling cost of prescriptions.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG and Community Catalyst | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Health Care

Top Twenty Pay-for-Delay Drugs

Too often, consumers are forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden, or even go without needed medicine, due to the high cost of brand-name drugs. Our research indicates that one significant cause is the practice called “pay for delay,” which inflates the drug prices paid by tens of millions of Americans.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Prescription for Danger

The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

massachusetts Lives at Risk

The United States Congress is currently considering so-called “regulatory reform” legislation that would add new bureaucratic hurdles to stall and, in some cases, stop the creation of new safeguards and standards that hold corporations accountable and protect the public. According to our analysis, the result would be demonstrable harm for the people of Massachusetts.

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Blog Post | Health Care

DPH Gives Green Light to Big Pharma’s Wining and Dining | Deirdre Cummings

Regulators move will re-open door to drug companies' expensive and biased marketing schemes.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

Governor was wrong to weaken health cost law | Deirdre Cummings

"Letting the restaurant, hospitality and convention industries set health care policy makes about as much sense as asking a pig to calculate the orbits of Jupiter’s moons.”
The Quincy Patriot-Ledger just put out a fantastic editorial on the recently passed law allowing drug reps to wine and dine physicians and other medical professionals.

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Blog Post | Health Care

At Stake: What’s on the Line for Health Care Consumers in the Pending Supreme Court Case | Deirdre Cummings

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have far reaching impacts on consumers. The law is already working to improve the quality of care and reduce costs, with millions of Americans experiencing concrete improvements in their coverage. Further improvements are slated to go into effect in 2014 – including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and the opening of competitive state health insurance marketplaces called “exchanges” aimed at giving consumers better choices for coverage, two reforms already working successfully here in Massachusetts.

While much of the national health care reforms were modeled after reforms already adopted  in Massachusetts, we still benefit from from some of the national reforms.  In this issue brief, we highlight the number of people the ACA has helped so far and the costs already saved to illustrate what’s at stake for Massachusetts consumers in the pending Supreme Court case.

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Blog Post | Health Care

Reducing the Cost of Health Care | Deirdre Cummings

 In 2006, Massachusetts became a model for the nation when we enacted a law that expanded access to health care. Our success will unravel, however, if we fail to reverse the trend of rising health care costs that are now among the highest in the nation.  

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Blog Post | Health Care

Testimony for the 2011 Health Care Cost Trends Hearing | Deirdre Cummings

Health care costs are out of control and rising considerably faster than almost every other household expense. We must reduce the cost of health care now; the high costs have gone on for too long and must be reversed.

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