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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    file their taxes today it s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for loopholes in our tax laws NJPIRG was joined today by Congressman Frank Pallone Jr NJ 6 Geetha Jayaraman owner of Grab Em Snacks and member of the Main Street Alliance and Rutgers students to release a new study which revealed that the average New Jersey taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra 1 560 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals New Jerseyans extra tax burden is the eighth highest in the nation Keep Reading Pages first previous 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 next last News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Financial Reform Higher Ed Banks Skim Millions In Fees From Student Aid Using Debit Card Linked Student IDs Over 9 million students are at risk for increased educational debt due to bank affiliated student debit cards that come with high fees insufficient consumer protections and few options Financial institutions now have affinity partnerships with almost 900 campuses nationwide grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards to become the primary recipient of billions in federal financial aid to distribute to students Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Safe Energy NJPIRG Statement on the Resignation of NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko We are deeply concerned by Chairman Gregory Jaczko s resignation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Health Care Governor s Veto Doesn t Undo Need for Health Reform Today Gov Christie brought health reform screeching to a halt in New Jersey The Governor s veto doesn t undo the need for health reform in New Jersey The Supreme Court decision won t change the fact that 1 3 million people are uninsured and thousands more are struggling to keep their families covered Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Higher Ed Senate Fails to Delay Interest Rate Hike That Threatens College Affordability Would Lead to 20 Increases in Cost of College Next Year In the wake of a failed Senate vote the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group NJPIRG released a joint report on the looming threat of a major hike in the federal student loan interest rate If Congress fails to act by July 1 the interest rate for Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan will double rising to 6 8 percent 7 4 million American students will see the interest rates on their student loans double effectively raising the average cost of college by over 1 000 for millions of students and their families Keep Reading Media Hit Higher Ed The New Student Battle Cry Don t Double My Rate The media and the country are just waking up to the alarming fact that unless Congress acts by July 1 the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3 4 percent to 6 8 percent Congress must not let that happen Keep

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=16 (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    kind by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Law Policy Center NJPIRG LPC Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Following the Money 2014 This report NJPIRG LPC s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive one stop one click transparency and accountability for state government spending Over the past year new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens access to critical spending information Many states however still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively Keep Reading Pages first previous 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 next last News Release NJPIRG Tax Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average New Jersey Taxpayer 668 a Year Each New Jersey Small Business 2 116 New Study Finds With tax day approaching a new study released by NJPIRG found that the average New Jersey taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra 668 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens The report Picking Up The Tab Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011 small businesses in New Jersey would have to foot a bill of over 2 116 on average Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Transportation New Report Long Term Drop in How Much People Drive Youth Desire More Transportation Options A new report released today by the NJPIRG Law and Policy Center demonstrates that Americans have been driving less since the middle of last decade The report Transportation and the New Generation Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy shows that young people in particular are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of transportation alternatives Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Democracy Tax Thirty Companies Contribute 41 Million to 524 Members of Congress Receive 10 6 Billion in Tax Rebates A new report released Wednesday March 21 by NJPIRG Law and Policy Center and Citizens for Tax Justice CTJ found that thirty unusually aggressive tax dodging corporations have made campaign contributions to 524 98 percent sitting members of Congress and disproportionately to the leadership of both parties and to key committee members Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Tax New Report New Jersey Receives a C in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending NJ receives a C in online access to government spending in this third annual report Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Tax White House Plan to Close Special Interest Tax Loopholes Is the Right Approach to Reform But Details Matter Statement by Gideon Weissman Program Associate for NJPIRG in response to the White House announcement today proposing

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=17 (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    choices when it comes to GMOs It s smart business to give customers what they want and some companies are beginning to build the transparent marketplace that consumers deserve This white paper summarizes companies recent actions related to GMOs Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Public Health Community Public Health and Labor Leaders Urge Federal Agencies to Prevent Chemical Disasters at Newark Hearing Today residents community labor and environmental leaders gathered at a federal listening session to push the Obama administration to take bold steps to reduce the danger posed to millions of people by high risk chemical facilities in the New York New Jersey metropolitan area Keep Reading Pages first previous 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 next last News Release NJPIRG Consumer Protection Statement on Congressman Pallone s Bill to Regulate Arsenic and Lead in Juice Statement of NJPIRG Program Associate Gideon Weissman on introduction of Congressman Frank Pallone s new bill Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012 or the APPLE Juice Act of 2012 Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Financial Reform NJPIRG Applauds CFPB Proposal To Regulate Biggest Credit Bureaus Last summer over 10 000 PIRG members submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB urging strict regulation of credit bureaus and credit scoring firms We applaud the CFPB for its proposal today to subject the nation s largest credit bureaus and credit scoring firms to full scrutiny as larger participants CFPB pdf in the financial marketplace Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Democracy New Report Released Auctioning Democracy The Rise of Super PACs and the 2012 Election Today NJPIRG Law and Policy Center U S PIRG Education Fund and Demos released a new analysis of the funding sources for the campaign finance behemoths Super PACs The findings confirmed what many have predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court s damaging Citizens United decision since their inception in 2010 Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources Keep Reading Media Hit Health Care Assembly Committee Clears Health Insurance Exchange Bill The first in a long series of steps toward healthcare reform was taken yesterday when a bill that will introduce sweeping changes to the way insurance is sold in New Jersey was voted out of an Assembly committee Keep Reading Media Hit Safe Energy Report Water of millions in peril from nuclear plants Nearly 3 3 million New Jerseyans drink water from supplies at risk of contamination if there s a leak or accident at a nuclear plant Keep Reading Pages first previous 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 next last Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=18 (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    today s students experience in living life without depending on a personal car Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Tax NJ could save nearly 60 million with simple proven method to curb offshore tax dodging new study finds New Jersey taxpayers could save 59 8 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging according to a new report released today by the NJPIRG Law Policy Center The reform which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income Keep Reading Pages first previous 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 next last Media Hit Safe Energy McKeon Calls for Stronger Safeguards To Protect Barnegat Bay Delaware River From Radioactive Contamination Assemblyman John F McKeon a long standing advocate of nuclear safety called for the immediate implementation of some of the safety protocols and safeguards recommended in the report released Tuesday on the threat to drinking water from radioactive leaks from nuclear facilities Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Safe Energy Nuclear Power Plants Threaten Drinking Water for Over 3 2 Million New Jerseyans The drinking water for 3 286 373 people in New Jersey could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant says a new study released today by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Law Policy Center and the Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center Keep Reading Media Hit Democracy Tax The Star Ledger Tax advocacy group names Honeywell on its Dirty Thirty corporations that spend lots on lobbying Thirty companies including Morris Township based Honeywell International made a tax advocacy group s list of corporations it says that spend big bucks on lobbying and save millions in federal tax subsidies annually according to a report released yesterday Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Democracy Tax Thirty Fortune 500 Companies Paid More to Lobby Congress than they Did in Federal Income Taxes With the second anniversary approaching of the Supreme Court s decision in the Citizens United case which opened the floodgates to corporate spending on elections NJPIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice reveal 30 corporations including one based in New Jersey that spent more to lobby Congress than they did in taxes Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Financial Reform President s Recess Appointment Gives Watchdog Teeth It Needs Kudos to President Obama for standing up for consumers this week by making a recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau The President s action means that the CFPB now has all its powers to protect the public from unfair financial practices whether by banks or other financial firms such as payday lenders and credit bureaus Keep Reading Pages first previous 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 next last Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=19 (2016-04-29)
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  • SO YOU NEED HEALTH INSURANCE. NOW WHAT? | NJPIRG
    care Many people will qualify for these lower costs FREE OR LOW COST COVERAGE You or your children if you have any may qualify for Medicaid or NJ Family Care two programs outlined earlier in th is guide When you fill out your application at the Health Insurance Marketplace you ll find out if you and your family qualify What are the Costs Once you ve narrowed down your options to several plans take a look at the specific costs of each plan It s important to consider not only the monthly premium but the potential out of pocket costs as well That way you can get a sense of the total cost you might face over the course of a year The specific out of pocket costs to look at are co pays deductibles and co insurance You ll also want to make special note of the out of pocket maximum For definitions of these terms see the section on Health Insurance Basics Here s a simple formula to see what you could have to pay in a year in a worst case scenario if you have a major illness or accident Monthly Premium x 12 months Out of Pocket Maximum Worst case scenario yearly cost Compare Plans Side by Side At the Health Insurance Marketplace you can compare plans based on a number of factors You can look at premiums and out of pocket costs and see which health care providers and hospitals are available in each plan In some states you can already compare quality ratings of the different plans and in others the quality rating will be added in future years BRONZE SILVER GOLD AND PLATINUM In the past it was practically impossible to compare insurance plans apples to apples with seemingly infinite combinations of premiums co pays deductibles annual coverage limits co insurance levels and out of pocket maximum amounts In the marketplace you can take advantage of the fact that the insurance plans have been neatly sorted into categories so you can compare them more easily The categories are Bronze Silver Gold and Platinum The categories are not based on the quality of care or the amount of care you can receive They are based on how much of your medical costs you pay and how much the insurance company pays As a general rule the higher the monthly premium the lower your out of pocket costs will be if you need care Platinum plans will generally have the highest premiums but if you need care you ll pay less in out of pocket costs Bronze plans will generally have lower premiums but you ll pay more in out of pocket costs if you need care If you think you ll need a lot of care in the year ahead it might make sense to pay a somewhat higher monthly premium and get a Gold or Platinum plan and know that you ll face lower out of pocket costs when you receive care On the other hand if you don t think you ll need much care you may want to pay a lower monthly premium and get a Bronze or Silver plan and risk the chance that you might get hit with higher out of pocket costs if you have an unexpected illness or accident CATASTROPHIC PLANS In addition to the Bronze Silver Gold and Platinum plans if you re under 30 or if you otherwise qualify by having a limited income that makes other coverage unaffordable you may buy a catastrophic plan These plans have lower premiums and they cover preventive care and three primary care visits per year with no co pay But if you need more care you ll face significant out of pocket costs That s because a catastrophic plan requires you to pay 100 of the cost of your medical care until you ve paid a certain amount often several thousand dollars These plans protect you from worst case scenarios where you d otherwise be on the hook for medical care costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars hence the name catastrophic It s also important to note that if you choose a catastrophic plan you won t be able to qualify for financial help through the marketplace What Health Care Providers Can You See When you are comparing plans take advantage of the fact that each plan will include a list of health care providers This is the plan s provider network If you visit a provider that isn t part of this network you ll pay higher costs so if you already have a doctor check to see if they are included in the plan you are considering Different types of insurance plans have different rules about whether you can get care outside of their provider network and still get the cost covered and at what cost HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION HMO An HMO typically only covers care if you visit a provider in their provider network You may be on the hook for the full cost of care if you use a health provider outside of the network In addition if you want to see a specialist in the network you may need to get a referral from your primary care provider PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION PPO A PPO covers care from providers both inside and outside the network However if you us a provider outside the network you ll pay higher out of pocket costs for that care You can see a specialist inside or outside the network without a referral How Does the Quality Stack Up Unfortunately when it comes to health care cost rarely tells you anything about quality Few things are more important than your health but for a long time there has been too little information about health care safety and quality available for consumers Now that s changing In many states the new marketplace includes tools to help you compare the quality of insurance plans and their provider networks In

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/resources/njf/so-you-need-health-insurance-now-what (2016-04-29)
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  • Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs | NJPIRG
    the report include Tamoxifen People with breast cancer waited nine years for generic competition to bring down the cost of this drug a widely used treatment for hormone receptive breast cancer due to a pay for delay deal Lipitor People with high cholesterol pay as much as 205 for a 30 day supply of Lipitor Now that the generic version is available it costs 18 During the time the generic was delayed Pfizer made 7 4 billion in sales of Lipitor in the last year alone Lamictal People with epilepsy can pay as much as 465 for brand name Lamictal 33 times the price of the generic now that it is finally available Pay for delay postponed the generic for three years Cipro The brand name version of the antibiotic Cipro can cost 346 for the most commonly prescribed quantity while the generic costs just 23 Bayer made a deal with generic drug makers to delay the drug for seven years Cipro is manufactured by Bayer Provigil Many multiple sclerosis patients and others faced paying up to 1 200 a month for this drug because the brand name manufacturer Cephalon paid four different generic drug manufacturers a total of more than 200 million to keep the generic version off the market until 2012 Pay for delay deals are currently blocking generic versions of at least five drugs Aggrenox stroke prevention Niaspan high cholesterol AndroGel synthetic testosterone Nuvigil narcolepsy and Nexium heartburn and GERD These top 20 are the tip of the iceberg said Wells Wilkinson Director of Community Catalyst s Prescription Access Litigation Project To put this list together we combed through the information that has been made public thanks to consumer class action lawsuits legal challenges brought by the FTC research by legal experts and public disclosures by drug makers Key findings of the report include Pay for delay has held back generic medicines used by patients with a wide range of serious or chronic conditions ranging from cancer and heart disease to depression and bacterial infection Payoffs have delayed these 20 generic drugs for five years on average and as long as nine years The top 20 brand name drugs cost an average of 10 times more than their generic equivalents and as much as 33 times more and Combined brand name drug companies made an estimated 98 billion in total sales of these 20 drugs while the generic versions were delayed Consumers have been stuck paying more than they should have to for needed medication Now they re looking to Congress to put a stop to this practice said Coleman Lawmakers should end these drug company shenanigans that inflate drug prices and hurt the people that rely on prescription drugs There is bipartisan support for ending pay for delay Sens Amy Klobuchar D MN and Chuck Grassley R IA are sponsoring S 214 the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act The bill declares that pay for delay deals are presumed anticompetitive and unlawful and it authorizes the

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/twenty-top-generic-drugs-delayed-industry-payoffs (2016-04-29)
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  • New Report Documents A Decade Of Safety Violations By Compounding Pharmacies | NJPIRG
    Food Drug and Cosmetic Act such as making new drugs that have not been tested for safety and effectiveness and making drugs in unsanitary conditions The report highlights some of the most blatant violations by compounding pharmacies including In 2009 Hopewell Pharmacy in Hopewell New Jersey was found to be using a solvent called diethylene glycol monoethyl ether in sterile injections used for the treatment of varicose veins This ingredient is normally used in industrial cleaners and is not approved by the FDA for use in drug manufacturing In 2006 Pharmacy Creations was discovered to be illegally producing adenosine 5 monophosphate a drug that can be used for nerve pain This drug was withdrawn from the U S Market in 1973 by the FDA as it was not considered safe or effective The pharmacy was also found to be producing Domperidone capsules and Polidocanol injections under unsterile manufacturing conditions potentially producing contaminated drugs Congress must give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that drugs made in compounding pharmacies are safe said Coleman We must never repeat the avoidable tragedy of having contaminated and unsafe drugs on the market again New Jersey s Attorney General has more recently addressed the safety of compounding pharmacies after a March 2013 nation wide recall of contaminated products distributed by Tinton Falls NJ compounding pharmacy Med Prep Consulting The Attorney General is currently seeking revocation of licenses for both the pharmacy and Med Prep s pharmacist in charge The findings highlighted in this report are alarming as are the more recent incidents of contaminated products compounded by Med Prep Consulting Inc and New England Compounding Center said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa In response to these concerns the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is drawing upon new resources to supplement its already robust

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/new-report-documents-decade-safety-violations-compounding-pharmacies (2016-04-29)
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  • The Supreme Court and the High Cost of Prescription Drugs | NJPIRG
    to market for five years Without competition Bristol Myers Squibb was able to keep making 3 4 billion a year in sales on the brand name drug This practice is widespread across the industry and it s consumers who end up paying the price The Federal Trade Commission conservatively estimates that pay for delay deals cost consumers and taxpayers at least 3 5 billion every year The irony of this case is that this practice is an unintended outgrowth of the law intended to increase the availability of generic drugs the 1984 Hatch Waxman Act The law gives drug companies exclusive rights to sell a drug for a period of time then allows generic manufacturers to challenge the patents on the drug With generic companies winning these challenges about 73 percent of the time brand name drug companies have responded by simply paying off generic challengers delaying the release of generic drugs for years Congressman Henry Waxman who co sponsored the original bill also filed an amicus brief on the case saying that pay for delay settlements turn the law on its head and urging the Supreme Court to declare the practice presumptively illegal The Supreme Court decision will come out by the end of June Given the justices comments yesterday during oral arguments and the fact that Justice Alito s recusal from the case makes a 4 4 split a possibility a clear decision seems unlikely We are of course hoping the court decides that these deals should be considered illegal But even in that best case scenario it will take vigilance to make sure the law is enforced and it is likely Congress will need to take action if we re to fully end this practice Kudos to Senators Franken and Vitter for sponsoring the FAIR Generics Act

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/njp/supreme-court-and-high-cost-prescription-drugs (2016-04-29)
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