Healthcare costs are on the rise all across our state - and our country. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project that hospital spending - which totaled $1.9 trillion nationwide in 2019 - will increase nearly 6% a year over the next three years.
While we continue to work towards a system of universal healthcare (read about my support of the New York Health Act here), there are concrete steps we can take to help make healthcare more affordable for working-class and middle-class New Yorkers.
One of the biggest reasons for exorbitant healthcare costs is large hospital networks leveraging their size to drive up the cost of basic care and procedures. One New York area hospital charges, on average, 358% more than what Medicare pays. (Which is typically 80-85% of the true cost of care). The average cost of a colonoscopy at a New York hospital is $3,638. At New York Presbyterian? It’s $8,991. When wealthy hospitals overcharge for healthcare, working class and middle class families foot the bill. They pay higher premiums for care and receive lower wages to maintain health benefits.
Pass the Hospital Equity and Affordability Law!
Working alongside two of New York’s largest unions, 32BJ SEIU and DC37, and the Coalition for Affordable Hospitals, I’ve proposed the Hospital Equity and Affordability Law (HEAL), which would prohibit hospitals from using anti-competitive contracting practices that drive up the costs of basic care, like requiring patients to only use preferred hospital service providers and striking backroom deals with insurers to keep prices secret.
Passing HEAL would help drive down the cost of unaffordable healthcare and put more money back into the pockets of New Yorkers.