Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 

Postings

Millions of struggling families need housing counseling now
In the economic fallout of the current pandemic, more than 20 million Americans are out of work. Black and Latino workers are experiencing disproportionate economic challenges, including an unemployment rate of 16.8 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively. American households are expected to face a wave of evictions and foreclosures even worse than they experienced in the last financial crisis. Coalition advocates wrote to Congress in support of the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act, which expands access to housing counseling so that these individuals and families can get help in finding affordable ways to stay in their homes.

Labor Department should withdraw policy that lets private equity loot retirement plans
Nineteen organizations and individuals that advocate on behalf of consumers, workers, investors and retirees have called on the Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw its controversial policy statement opening the door to private equity investments in 401(k) plans. These investments are likely to saddle middle-class retirement savers with high costs and lock them into unnecessarily complex investments that underperform publicly available alternatives. The coalition called on DOL to withdraw the policy statement until it can conduct a more careful and balanced analysis of the potential risks and benefits of including a private equity component in retirement plan investments.

AbbVie—Allergan merger a bad deal for consumers
As the Federal Trade Commission signs off on the $63 billion deal between AbbVie and Allergen, advocates warn that the merger will reduce competition in a number of markets where AbbVie and Allergan directly overlap with each other. The deal will also exacerbate competitive problems that already exist in the pharmaceutical drug industry relating to rebate walls and patent abuses.

All insurers must make coronavirus tests and treatment free to patients
Americans have been urged to seek medical help if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, but out-of-pocket costs could put insured patients into serious medical debt, or worse, deter them from seeking treatment at all — causing undue suffering and death, and exacerbating the pandemic. A coalition of more than 80 advocacy groups came together to urge all health insurance corporations to waive all patient fees for care associated with COVID-19, including copays and deductibles.

Affordability should be paramount when the COVID-19 vaccine is released to the public
Consumer Action joined nearly 70 organizations in writing to President Trump, asking him to ensure that vaccines or treatments for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), developed and purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars, are reasonably priced and available to everyone. Americans will not accept President Trump allowing Big Pharma corporations to profit off a pandemic that continues to claim thousands of lives.

Congress: Pass a clean budget for FY2021
Advocates called on Congress to pass an upcoming federal budget that funds the things that Americans care about, not undo essential consumer and environmental safeguards through policy riders. Policy riders are attached to legislation and rarely have anything to do with the bill. In fact, most riders are handouts to big corporations and special favors for interest groups that could not become law on their own merits. As Congress prepares the federal budget for fiscal year 2021, no appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions should pass if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest, including policies that ensure safe and healthy food, restrain Wall Street abuses, provide access to justice and fair housing, and guarantee access to safe healthcare.

Pharmacy benefit managers are driving up drug costs for patients
States, local governments, organizations, and businesses use pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to negotiate lower drug prices for the individuals on their health insurance plans. Three organizations control 85 percent of this market. While PBMs play a crucial role in the drug supply chain, the lack of transparency regarding their practices has long contributed to the rising cost of prescription drugs. The PBM Transparency and Prescription Drug Costs Act (H.R. 5304) will increase transparency, hold pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) accountable, and help lower prescription drug prices. This bipartisan bill will mandate quarterly reports on the costs, fees, and rebate information associated with PBM contracts. This reform ensures employers know the true costs of the services they are paying for and passes on savings to consumers.

Advocates call on Amtrak to end forced arbitration policy
Consumer Action joined a coalition of more than 30 groups in urging the federally-controlled and federally-subsidized Amtrak to remove the arbitration clause it implemented earlier this year for passengers. This new policy means that for any dispute ranging from a customer complaint to a mass casualty crash, passengers and their families are stripped of their right to go to court. Under forced arbitration, Amtrak disputes must be resolved in a secretive, privatized system, replacing and judge and jury with arbitrators.

Healthcare mergers result in less choice and higher prescription drug prices for consumers
As the Federal Trade Commission considers signing off on the $63 billion deal between AbbVie and Allergen, advocates warn that the merger will reduce competition in a number of markets where AbbVie and Allergan directly overlap with each other. The deal will also exacerbate competitive problems that already exist in the pharmaceutical drug industry relating to rebate walls and patent abuses.

Americans are ready for comprehensive reform to lower prescription drug prices
A coalition of progressive grassroots and policy organizations sent a letter urging Congress to lower prescription drug prices for the American people. The letter urges House leadership to develop and pass bold, comprehensive reforms that would lower drug prices for all Americans, regardless of whether they are covered by Medicare, private insurance, or Medicaid.

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