By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
DC 37 joined a coalition of unions in the Affordable Hospitals campaign in the days leading to the rally on Feb. 7. The unions are fighting to win a fair share of funding for New York City’s public hospitals and public workers’ wages.
Union activists are pressing for quality and affordable healthcare for all New Yorkers through an online petition that DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido will deliver to the heads of the five major, private hospital networks on Feb. 7.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inequalities in healthcare and the exorbitant pricing New Yorkers and safety net services like Medicare incur to pay for hospital care,” said Garrido. “The executives at the five major private hospitals have a unique level of power and control over the affordability of healthcare available in New York City. We demand our seat at the table!”
Hospital costs in the New York area are among the highest in the nation and spending continues to grow more rapidly than the national average. Private hospitals charge an average of 302% of the Medicare reimbursement rate, that is more than three times the rate NYC Health+Hospitals charge for the same procedure.
Private hospitals take the lion’s share of government funds like Medicare, which leaves significantly less funds to pay for the vital public services DC 37 members and public healthcare professionals provide.
Higher hospital pricing does not result in better quality of care. Moreover, New York’s private hospitals often refuse to care for homeless, poor and uninsured individuals, dumping them on NYC H+H, the City’s public healthcare system that provides quality care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
“Every dollar that goes towards New York private hospital costs is one less dollar that could have gone to wages for workers, and, in the case of government spending, to fund vital public services,” Garrido said. “These practices hurt working families and stifle workers’ wages. They hurt us. These harmful practices are unacceptable!”
The petition calls on private hospital leaders and CEOs “to take immediate action to come to the table in good faith with the city, state, and self-insured health funds and agree to fair, transparent contracts with equitable and affordable prices.”
Thousands of New Yorkers across the five boroughs are signing the petition. You can too. Please sign the Affordable Hospitals petition here.