𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘦𝘯𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 Labor Religion Coalition of New York State 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵 #EndMedicalDebt 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘶𝘮, 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢, 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘞𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢’𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯.
Earlier this week, the Labor Religion Coalition of New York State and our allies at Citizen Action, Community Service Society, and the NYS Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival hosted a rally, press conference, and community forum in support of the campaign to #EndMedicalDebt in New York State. Each year, non-profit hospitals across New York receive over $1 billion in tax support; despite the subsidies, though, these same hospitals choose to take low-income New Yorkers to court over unpaid medical bills, rather than offering them mandated financial assistance. Our #EndMedicalDebt forum was just one action in the campaign to build patient power and pass laws to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from predatory hospital billing.
At Tuesday’s forum, we heard from a number of community members on the impact that medical debt has had on their lives, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, in observance of International Human Rights Day, we write to you to share one of those stories. Many of us have been personally impacted by the absurdity of our healthcare system, and if we haven’t, many of our families, friends, and community members have been. We share the following story from Capital Region resident Tara Murphy, not only as a reminder of the human impact medical debt can have, but also as a reminder that sharing stories of our hardship and connecting around those stories can make our movement stronger. Together, we can #EndMedicalDebt and push for a healthcare system that centers care, rather than accumulating profit.
𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳, 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘢 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘦, 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺, 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘺. 𝘞𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭, 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 8 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬; 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘸𝘰 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘪𝘹 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘥. 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳, 𝘯𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳. 𝘏𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘴𝘪𝘹 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦. 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵, 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘢 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥, “𝘞𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦. 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦.”
At the Labor Religion Coalition of New York State, we believe that access to quality healthcare is a human right. Across our state, though, New Yorkers are either going without care or assuming immense medical debt in order to access life-saving care. On this #InternationalHumanRightsDay, we ask that you join us in the fight to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from predatory hospital billing. With your support, we can make New York a state where all New Yorkers have access to the care they need.