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New PRA Report: Healthcare Price Transparency Can Reduce Healthcare Costs by More than $1 Trillion Annually

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Paper co-authored by renowned economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and PRA Founder Cynthia Fisher offers solution to the American healthcare crisis

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — Today, PatientRightsAdvocate.org (PRA) published a report co-authored by Founder and Chairman Cynthia Fisher and economist Dr. Arthur Laffer that concludes healthcare price transparency can reduce national healthcare spending by more than $1 trillion annually and extend American life expectancy.

The report explains how price transparency can achieve these dramatic health saving and outcome improvements by empowering patients and employers to access the best care at the best prices. Actual prices can be compared to claims data to prevent and remedy rampant overcharges, spread pricing, and to expose errors and fraud that occur in the shadows of the current opaque system. Price transparency will unleash a competitive, affordable health system that eliminates widespread overcharging. 

“The American people are paying twice as much for healthcare to die four years earlier than in other developed countries,” said Cynthia Fisher, founder and chairman of PatientRightsAdvocate.org. “Price transparency provides the opportunity to lower runaway costs and provide access to care with knowledge of quality and outcomes. The opportunity is to save lives while saving money.”

“Americans spend nearly twice as much on healthcare as other advanced countries yet have far shorter life expectancies due to hidden prices that drive up costs and scare patients from seeking care,” said economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. “Healthcare price transparency can save Americans more than $1 trillion a year on healthcare spending and lengthen lifespans by ushering in a pro-consumer healthcare marketplace that empowers patients to choose affordable care when they need it. That’s what makes the current effort in Congress to strengthen healthcare price transparency one of the most crucial public policy actions legislators can take to improve American wellbeing.”

Click here to read the report.

Top Takeaways

  • The top 10 biggest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) healthcare spenders, excluding the U.S., spent an average of 11.9% of their GDPs on healthcare in 2021.
  • The U.S. spent 17.4% of its GDP on healthcare in 2021.
  • 2019 JAMA paper estimated that at least 25% of the more than $4 trillion in annual U.S. healthcare spending is administrative waste, errors, overcharging, and fraud.
  • If the U.S. could match other top ten OECD nations’ 11.9% of GDP spending performance through price transparency reforms, it would cut its annual healthcare spending from $4.1 trillion to $2.8 trillion, saving $1.3 trillion.
  • With true healthcare price transparency, annual savings could amount to $4,000 per person in the country.

PatientRightsAdvocate.org (PRA) is a leading national healthcare price transparency organization dedicated to ushering in systemwide transparency through advocacy, testimony, media, legal research, and grassroots campaigns. PRA believes that the availability and visibility of actual, upfront healthcare prices will greatly lower costs for patients and employers through a functional, competitive healthcare marketplace. In its latest Hospital Price Transparency Compliance report, PRA found that only 36% of American hospitals reviewed are fully complying with the law after almost three years of its implementation.

SOURCE Patient Rights Advocate

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Consumer Corner

7 Ways to Reduce Energy Bills During Summer Heat

The summer is when we see homeowners strategizing about how to keep their homes cool and comfortable while sticking to their household budgets,

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The summer is when we see homeowners strategizing about how to keep their homes cool and comfortable while sticking to their household budgets,

 (Family Features) With temperatures forecasted to run at least 2 degrees higher than historical averages across more than half the country, according to projections from AccuWeather, heat waves may lead to soaring air-conditioning bills this summer.

“The summer is when we see homeowners strategizing about how to keep their homes cool and comfortable while sticking to their household budgets,” said Michael Williford, HVAC service manager at Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. “We work with customers to keep their current HVAC systems running smoothly or upgrade to more efficient systems, which can make a huge difference in their utility bills. In addition, there are many other ways homeowners can keep their energy costs down during the hot summer months.”

Consider these smart, practical, cost-cutting tips for dialing down your energy bills.

Service HVAC Systems Regularly
To ensure the best cooling performance and efficiency possible, find a licensed contractor to keep your heating and cooling system well-maintained and serviced throughout the year. There are some tasks many homeowners can handle on their own, like keeping outdoor units free of debris and changing air filters. However, bringing in a professional 1-2 times a year for maintenance and to ensure proper function of ductwork and electrical components is also essential.

Use Appliances During Non-Peak Hours
Rather than using stoves, ovens and clothing dryers in the afternoon hours, consider doing so early in the morning or late in the evening. Peak time for many electricity providers is noon-6 p.m., meaning using appliances that heat up your home outside of this timeframe when conventional heating and cooling systems are likely running full throttle can help lower energy costs.

Upgrade Your Systems to an Energy-Saving Heat Pump
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) incentivizes homeowners who opt for energy-efficient HVAC upgrades, including qualified heat pumps, which can boost seasonal energy efficiency ratios and increase efficiencies. For example, Mitsubishi Electric heat pumps provide more energy-efficient cooling that may equal cost and energy savings as well as a reduced carbon footprint for homeowners. These systems are equipped with inverter or variable-speed technology that allows systems to automatically ramp up or down the required amount of energy depending on the room’s capacity. Although annual savings vary, some homeowners can save as much as $1,000 per year by switching to an all-electric heat pump.

Fire Up the Grill
When temperatures soar, use the grill for cooking to help lower energy usage and save on air-conditioning costs. Alternatively, toaster ovens, air fryers and slow cookers use less energy than larger conventional stoves or ovens. Get creative by cooking a pizza in a chiminea or smoking favorite meats as alternatives to using your oven.

Stop Cooling Empty Rooms
One mistake many homeowners make is forgetting to adjust their temperature settings when leaving the house. Whether you’re headed to the beach for the weekend or just headed to work for the day, blasting the air conditioner in an empty house can result in unnecessarily high utility bills. Multi-zone, all-electric heat pumps like those from Mitsubishi Electric allow homeowners to set the comfort level and adjust the temperature in each room, so you don’t have to waste energy cooling unoccupied rooms. With a smartphone app, you can even adjust the settings remotely.

Install a Smart Electric Panel
Installing a smart electrical panel alongside an all-electric heat pump enables homeowners to monitor and control energy consumption on-site or remotely using a smartphone for better overall efficiency and utility cost savings.

Harness the Sun’s Energy with Solar Panels
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the amount of sunlight that strikes the Earth’s surface in 90 minutes could power the world’s total energy usage for a full year. Investing in solar panels can help decrease energy bills and increase your home’s sustainability. Additionally, some utility providers and government entities, including the IRA, offer incentives to help reduce installation costs. Plus, solar-sourced power pairs well with all-climate heat pumps, which require minimal electricity to operate.

Find more ideas to dial down energy usage (and bills) this summer at MitsubishiComfort.com.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


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Mitsubishi Electric

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Business and Finance

The Growing Dilemma: Renting vs. Buying a Home

“Renting or buying? A dilemma growing among prospective homeowners as they question the financial impact. Find out the emotional and financial value associated with homeownership in this Bank of America report.”

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Buying a home has always been considered a significant investment, a cornerstone of financial stability and future security. However, a recent Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report reveals a growing number of prospective homebuyers who fear that renting could have detrimental effects on their financial future. With high interest rates and soaring home prices, the uncertainty surrounding the decision to rent or buy has only intensified. This article delves into the reasons behind this dilemma and explores the emotional and financial value associated with homeownership.

A message from Matt Vernon, Head of Consumer Lending, Bank of America

The Rising Uncertainty:
The report reveals that 57% of respondents are unsure whether it is the right time to buy a home, compared to 48% from the previous year. This trend is particularly prominent among first-time homebuyers, with 62% expressing uncertainty. Higher interest rates and escalating home prices have left renters questioning the feasibility of homeownership in the current market. Matt Vernon, Head of Consumer Lending at Bank of America, recognizes this growing concern but emphasizes that research consistently supports the belief that owning a home is the best long-term decision for most prospective homebuyers.

Population Flows and Supply Challenges:
Complicating the decision-making process are the continuing population flows across the United States. As stated in the Bank of America Institute’s On the Move publication, cities in the South have experienced substantial inflows of people, primarily driven by younger generations. Despite an increase in housing supply to accommodate these changes, the supply of rental properties in some areas falls short of meeting the demands of growing populations. Consequently, while 37% of respondents prefer renting for now, 81% of prospective buyers still plan to purchase a home in the near future.

Emotional Value of Homeownership:
The report highlights the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership, with a majority of homeowners and prospective homebuyers recognizing these advantages. Homeownership offers a sense of permanence, emotional stability, control over living space, and fulfillment, according to the survey. However, baby boomers appear to be an exception to this outlook, with 80% favoring renting over buying. They value the freedom from property maintenance, financial responsibilities, and enjoy the flexibility of choosing when and where to move.

Lack of Confidence and Lessons Learned:
Prospective homebuyers also express a lack of confidence in various aspects of the homebuying process, including understanding financing, interest rates, homebuying terminology, and grant programs. However, meeting with lending specialists can be beneficial in exploring assistance programs, such as Bank of America’s down payment and closing cost grants. Furthermore, the report reveals that 66% of current homeowners would have done something differently when buying their first home, such as saving more for a down payment or considering other neighborhoods.

The Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment:

The Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment is a $15 billion program aimed at assisting low- and moderate-income homebuyers. This initiative is designed to address the lack of confidence expressed by prospective buyers in understanding various aspects of the homebuying process. Through the commitment, Bank of America offers down payment and closing cost grants, as well as access to lending specialists who can provide guidance on financing options, interest rates, and grant programs. The program also takes into account the lessons learned by current homeowners, with the goal of empowering potential buyers to make informed decisions and achieve successful homeownership.

About Bank of America Institute
Bank of America Institute is dedicated to uncovering powerful insights that move business and society forward. Established in 2022, the Institute is a think tank that draws on data and analyses from across the bank and the world to provide timely and original perspectives on the economy, sustainability, and global transformation. The Institute leverages the depth and breadth of the bank’s proprietary data, from approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients, 56 million verified digital users, $4.2 trillion in total payments in 2022 and $1.4 trillion in consumer and wealth management deposits. From this robust data set, the Institute provides a unique perspective on the health of the economy. It also elevates thought leadership from throughout the bank that addresses long-term trends and shares these findings with the general public.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 69 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,800 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs (automated teller machines) and award-winning digital banking with approximately 57 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BAC).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.

SOURCE Bank of America Corporation

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Consumer Corner

High-ROI Spring Home Projects

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(Family Features) Spring is nature’s cue to renew and refresh. Whether you’re looking to add value for potential sale or simply create a more comfortable living space, you can make the most of the season and breathe new life into your home with projects that provide a high return on investment (ROI).

Consider these top home renovation projects to tackle this spring from the experts at Westlake Royal Building Products – a leader in innovation, design and production of exterior and interior building products including siding, trim, mouldings, roofing, stone, windows, outdoor living and more – based on the 2024 Cost vs. Value Report from “Remodeling Magazine.”

Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom
The average seller can expect an 96.1% return on a light touch to the kitchen, according to the report, and 73.7% on a modest bathroom renovation. Because personal preferences can vary widely among buyers, minor upgrades can provide a higher ROI than large, upscale remodels. A few easy ways to refresh your kitchen or bathroom include updating shelving or adding new hardware. Decorative trim and mouldings are also cost-effective ways to add visual interest.

Upgrade with Stone Veneer
As natural and textured home trends continue, homeowners are gravitating toward stone veneer, or manufactured stone, as it can replicate the look of real stone, adding comfort, character and beauty to homes. An option like Versetta Stone from Westlake Royal Building Products offers the authentic, handcrafted look of stone in a panelized format that’s easy to install with nails and screws. There’s also no need to paint, coat or seal once installed. Ideal for its ability to add texture and dimension throughout both home interior (accent walls and fireplaces) and exterior applications (siding, entryways and walkways), stone veneer – which comes with a 153.2% ROI – can influence mood, emotion and energy levels while serving as a focal point of your home’s design.

Install New Windows
Depending on the harshness of winter in your area and the age of your home, you may notice certain windows have developed drafts, allowing cold air to enter and heat to escape. Replacing drafty or outdated windows with modern, energy-efficient models is one of the most effective ways to enhance your home’s energy efficiency. Additionally, a vinyl window replacement brings approximately 67.1% ROI.

Replace Siding
In some cases, applying a fresh coat of paint is enough to refresh your home. However, if you’re looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal while making a long-term impact, consider installing new siding or replacing existing siding. Because vinyl siding serves as an additional layer of insulation, improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, it offers a 80.2% ROI. Weather-resistant, low-maintenance siding like Celect Cellular Composite Siding, which is now available in on-trend colors including Imperial Red, a robust shade of red; Deep Pewter, a compellingly modern forest green; and Timberland, a rich, natural brown, won’t warp, sag or buckle and is built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Its patented interlocking joints provide a seamless look and it’s easy to install in small spaces, like along a knee or pony wall.

Update Decking
If you want to entertain guests outside, spring is a perfect time to get your patio or deck ready. While a new coat of stain can update your existing deck’s appearance and help protect it, spring is also an ideal time to build a deck if your home doesn’t currently have one. When choosing a decking material, cost and maintenance are two factors to consider. Composite decking offers a 68.2% ROI and is low maintenance as it’s not susceptible to cracking, warping and weather damage.

Find more ideas to update your home this spring at WestlakeRoyalBuildingProducts.com.


SOURCE:
Westlake Royal Building Products

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