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.

Newsletter Form


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WHAT ARE WE ADVOCATING FOR?

Over 53,000 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

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

This #WorldAIDSDay, we stand with patients living with & affected by HIV.

ALL NY'ers deserve quality care, free of stigma or discrimination. 💯
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NEXT WEDNESDAY! 📣 New York’s hospital prices are the highest in the nation, and New Yorkers – particularly, New Yorkers of color – are struggling to pay them. It’s time those voices are heard.

Join us Wednesday, November 16th at 10AM in Brooklyn Borough Hall for the first in a series of community forums on medical debt. Hear from advocates, leaders and patients on the need to improve access to care for all New Yorkers and end our state’s medical debt crisis.

Registration not needed to attend, but you can sign up to share your medical debt story at the forum at the link in our bio. We look forward to seeing you ✨✨
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“In one of the richest countries in the world, in one of the greatest cities in the world, I don’t think anybody should have medical debt – especially during a global pandemic.” 💪

This #MedicalDebtMonday, watch Sam’s long COVID story and learn how you can fight alongside patient advocates at cssny.org/EndMedicalDebt.
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