New consumer watchdog chief may make consumer complaints private

It’s official: Senate approves Kathy Kraninger to serve as next CFPB director

Guess she’s not interested in transparency for consumers:

Speaking to Reuters in her first interview since taking office in December, Kathy Kraninger said the agency was discussing how the public complaints database, a key source of the bureau’s investigations, should operate.

“It is on the agenda this year to address what is the public kind of discussion about what the database should be,” she said on Wednesday.

The financial industry and consumer advocates have been watching closely to see whether Kraninger would continue with a number of controversial projects begun by Mick Mulvaney, formerly the agency’s interim director and now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

Kraninger acknowledged the database, which went public in 2012 to boost transparency of consumer issues, supported the bureau’s mission to protect borrowers, but did not rule out making it private.

CIGNA capping monthly insulin costs

nurses duties

But it doesn’t really solve the problem. Via Vox,

But there are several catches here. In order for Cigna patients to participate, their employers will have to opt into the change in plan, Stat reported. And Cigna is just one of many insurance companies out there, covering less than 1 percent of the 23 million living with diabetes in America.

“Any measure that helps only a portion of the population through opaque deals between the players responsible for this crisis is not a solution,” Elizabeth Pfiester, the founder and executive director of the patient group T1International, told Vox. “We need long-term assurance that manufacturers will be held accountable and prices will be affordable — not another Band-Aid.”

Most patients with diabetes are still going to be vulnerable to the whims of drug company pricing, since companies can still set whatever prices they wish. And no drug is better for understanding how that happened than insulin.

Why we’re taking on the Big Pharma lobby

In case you’ve never heard me talk about it, CUFF is all about standing up for consumers.

The idea on which we’re founded is that consumers are financially squeezed, often unfairly. Most of us aren’t getting good raises, and all the services we depend on — prescription medicine, cable TV, cells phones, etc.— are constantly increasing in price. The reason that happens? It can be complicated, but we suspect the biggest reason is that consumers are conditioned to take it. And take it, we do.

We happen to believe reasonable pricing is the least we can expect.

That’s why our first official email campaign urges Congress to take immediate action to help diabetics get affordable insulin. (Do you know how crazy that sounds to people in other countries? That’s because it is. This makes my blood boil.)

If you haven’t already signed the petition, please do it now.

I know email campaigns can be really annoying and often seem pointless. But your support on this and other issues will now be digitally transmitted to members of Congress, and it will make a difference. And emails help activist organizations grow! You know those “tip” buttons? That’s how a lot of good work gets funded.

I’ve always planned for CUFF to be funded by small contributions, because I’ve seen how activist groups can be hemmed in by their big donors. (That’s why magazines like Mother Jones don’t run ads.) We want to be an independent voice, and your tips make it possible for us to plan for taking on big issues without fear of losing funding. This group is truly people-powered, so if you haven’t already, please sign our petition.

If you’ve already signed the petition, thank you! Please consider forward it to friends and family. We have this crazy idea that we can build a powerful consumer voice that we can use to make politicians listen — and that will be good news for us all.