Testing, Health Care, and Consumer Protection
A Push for Common Sense
A number of groups around the country are calling for a common sense approach to public policy as America tackles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education advocates are pushing the Biden Administration to allow states to cancel standardized tests this year:
In response to the Biden Administration’s insistence that students will take standardized tests this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of Members of Congress are urging Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to rethink that decision and cancel the tests.
In Maryland, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) is asking the legislature to adopt health policy reforms that will help prevent low-income families from falling into medical debt:
Our healthcare system in Maryland needs a dramatic overhaul. Despite the fact that Maryland’s nonprofit hospitals are paid by the state to provide free medical care to low-income patients, a recent Health Service Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) study found that hospitals sent 60% of patients who were eligible for free care to debt collection. In other words, hospitals failed low-income patients 60% of the time.
Meanwhile, a New Jersey advocacy group is advocating for a swift confirmation of Rohit Chopra to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):
Fortunately, President Biden’s choice of Mr. Chopra is a good one. Mr. Chopra was an early employee of the CFPB when now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren fought for and then set up the agency in the years after the 2008 financial crisis. He proved his worth, doing battle on behalf of students who’d borrow money to finance their education, only to be faced with abusive treatment by lenders.
Having a real ally of consumers at the CFPB matters for the people of this country. When it was under good leadership, the bureau returned $12 billion in returned fees and cancelled debts to over 28 million Americans, many of them in New Jersey. Predatory lenders are constantly trying to get around our state laws protecting consumers; having a strong CFPB in Washington helps keep them at bay. We are joining other consumer groups in supporting his nomination, which is getting a hearing during National Consumer Protection Week.
Finally, California leaders have taken steps to stop pandemic price gouging when it comes to car insurance:
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Center for Economic Justice (CEJ) praised California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s action to require insurers to give back COVID windfall profits by sending additional auto insurance premium refunds to California customers. The California Department of Insurance is also requiring ongoing refunds for consumers as long as the pandemic keeps driving and accident rates low.