We the Patients

A CAMPAIGN POWERED BY PATIENTS.

Shockingly high medical bill? Unaffordable insurance coverage? Share your health care story and join the movement of patients advocating for more affordable, accessible and equitable health care in New York.

Use this form to get in touch with us. We’ll follow up.

Patient advocates drive policy change.

In 2004, 24-year-old Manny Lanza needed urgent surgery for a life-threatening brain condition. But without insurance, the hospital refused to schedule the treatment. Manny died waiting.

Manny’s father fought to make Manny’s story known. He, alongside longtime health and legal advocates, became the catalyst for New York’s charity care law passed in 2007, which requires hospitals to provide free or low cost care to uninsured or underinsured patients. The law – the Hospital Financial Assistance Law – is now known as Manny’s Law.

Patient voices can be powerful forces for health care reform. We The Patients is a movement to amplify those experiences and engage patients in health care advocacy, to create a better health care system. We believe collective action—working together with community members, activists, unions, nonprofits, policymakers, volunteers, and more—is the best way to accelerate and actualize change.

Featured patient Stories

Covid-19 survivor receives $400,000 hospital bill – Janet Mendez, NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed one of our medical system’s greatest failures: giant bills. Janet Mendez, a COVID-19 survivor, is facing an enormous bill…

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Meet John Ingram: A 75-Year Old New Yorker Slaughtered On All Sides By Medical Debt

When you go to the doctor, do you get one simple bill for the health care you received? Many patients, like John Ingram, are caught in our fragmented…

A Health Care System Against Her – Angela Ozuna Tavera, Bronx County

Angela Ozuna Tavera is a long-term resident of New York City, originally immigrating from the Dominican Republic. When it looked like her Medicaid coverage might come to an end, she…

Get updates on our latest advocacy efforts and learn how you can get involved.

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WHAT ARE WE ADVOCATING FOR?

Over 52,000 New Yorkers were sued by New York’s charitable hospitals between 2015 and 2020, including at least 4,000 people sued during the pandemic. Patients need protections from unfair medical bills and extraordinary collections actions taken over medical debt.

These include:

  • Ending liens and wage garnishment over unpaid medical bills
  • Making financial assistance applications consistent and accessible for patients
  • Eliminating facility fees for preventive care 

Half of New Yorkers say that they cannot afford medical care even with insurance and another 5 percent of New Yorkers – 1 million people – have no coverage at all. Health coverage should be accessible and affordable, for all New Yorkers.

New York can improve coverage by:

  • Passing the New York Health Act, which would ensure coverage for everyone in the state
  • Allowing all income-eligible New Yorkers to enroll in the state’s Essential Plan, regardless of immigration status
  • Expanding Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum for new mothers, making Medicaid accessible for older people or those with disabilities, and expanding eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs)
  • Eliminating premiums for children enrolled in Child Health Plus

Decisions surrounding hospital building projects and closures are made without considering community need, often resulting in limited access to care for communities with lower incomes or with more people of color. For example, Queens has just 1.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 residents, while Manhattan has 6.4.
We can create a more equitable New York by:

  • Adding patients to the Public Health and Health Planning Council to ensure hospital planning decisions reflect patient needs
  • Distribute more of New York’s $1.1 billion indigent care pool to hospitals that care for the lowest-income New Yorkers

Consumer assistance programs are crucial to helping patients enroll in coverage and navigate our complex health care system

  • Increase funding for Navigators who provide enrollment assistance
  • Create a grant program to fund community-based organizations to conduct outreach in communities with large uninsured populations
  • Increase funding for Community Health Advocates to handle rising demand

PATIENT RESOURCES

Get Direct Support

Understanding Health Insurance, Resolving Medical Billing Issues & More

Get Direct Support

Understanding Health Insurance, Resolving Medical Billing Issues & More:
Community Health Advocates

How to Avoid Facility Fees

“When the Doctor’s Visit Costs Double” by Chuck Bell

How to Avoid Facility Fees:

“When the Doctor’s Visit Costs Double” by Chuck Bell
Keep reading

Medical Debt in New York: What Patients Can Do to Fight Back

Medical Debt in New York: What Patients Can Do to Fight Back:

Watch Video

Department of Financial Services: Guide to Surprise Bills

Department of Financial Services: Guide to Surprise Bills:

Read Now

THE LATEST

Social Media

As new health threats emerge, our system must be equipped to support patients fairly & equitably. We must #EndMedicalDebt #PassNYHealth now.

Monkeypox suspected now in NYC. Boston and New York are almost always our early bell-weathers for epidemics seeded from Europe. Boston had a confirmed #monkeypox yesterday and NYC now has a new suspected case. I’ve seen this pattern before. Hmmm. https://twitter.com/nychealthy/status/1527406751724752901

When Sheryl asked about financial assistance to cover an unaffordable medical bill, she was told: "We can't just tell everyone about that."

Have you or a loved one had trouble accessing financial assistance? DM us! ✉️ http://wethepatientsny.org/2022/03/02/sheryls-story/

My father fell and broke his leg pretty badly a couple months ago.

Just got the bill for his two night hospital stay recovering from surgery.

$120,000

And once again we say: #MedicareForAll

When Ellen went to the doctor, she had no idea she'd wind up with a $2,000 charge *separate* from the cost of her care.

@GovKathyHochul, it's up to you to slash these bogus fees once and for all. #EndMedicalDebt

Thousands across the state are burdened by medical debt – mainly low-income communities of color.

For a healthier, more equitable NY we must #EndMedicalDebt once and for all.

Read more: cssny.org/EndMedicalDebt
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Spotted 👀 at last night’s protest against yesterday’s leaked SCOTUS opinion that may overturn Roe V Wade.

In light of attacks on our country’s health and rights, its more important than ever that we #PassNYHealth and #EndMedicalDebt to ensure a fairer, more equitable health system in NY.
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