2021 was a difficult year for New York patients. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to overwhelm people and systems, patients still faced astonishingly high medical bills and issues getting coverage – putting their finances and well-being at risk during a global crisis. As a result, 2021 saw a major surge in patients avoiding necessary medical care due to cost.
Despite the challenges, advocates scored a number of important policy wins that bring New York closer to achieving health care for all. Those wins include:
- At least five different hospital systems have changed their debt collection policies, savings thousands of patients from lawsuits and property liens.
- Both NY houses passed the Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Rate bill, which would cut the medical debt interest rate from 9 to 2 percent.
- Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Health Equity Assessment bill into law, requiring hospitals and other health facilities to consider the impact on marginalized groups when making sales and closures.
These changes will have a significant impact on access to and affordability of care in New York, but we’re just getting started. Let’s make 2022 the best year for NY patients yet, by fighting to end medical debt once and for all, getting everyone covered regardless of immigration status and passing the New York Health Act to ensure everyone can access the care they need.