Today, an extraordinarily diverse group of 61 organizations representing patients, religious leaders, labor organizations, people who are older, have disabilities, immigrants and people of color and more sent a letter to Majority-Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie calling on elected officials to include the Ounce of Prevention Act (S1366 (2023) | A8441A (2022)) in the final State budget. The bill would reform the state’s Hospital Financial Assistance Law, enabling much-needed support to low-income families burdened by medical debt.
The letter is part of a united effort to end medical debt in New York state. You can show your support through our Phone2Action tool here.
Six percent of New Yorkers have been put into collections over medical bills, with numbers much higher for people of color in parts of the state. Nonprofit hospitals have sued more than 54,000 patients over medical debt they are unable to pay.
Many hospitals fail to offer meaningful financial assistance to their patients, despite receiving $1.1 billion dollars annually in state and federal funding to provide uncompensated care. Still others secure these funds despite failing the New York State Department of Health’s annual audits of their financial aid policies.
The Ounce of Prevention Act would add crucial patient protections to the existing Hospital Financial Assistance Law and increase the number of patients eligible to receive discounted care.