New York, NY – Today, June 3rd, the Hospital Equity and Affordability Law, or HEAL Act passed both the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate. Co-sponsored by state Senator Andrew Gournades and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, the legislation bars hospital networks from striking contracting deals with insurers that have the effect of skyrocketing healthcare costs.
The 32BJ Health Fund, a first-of-its-kind program, served as the primary source of inspiration for the bill. The union’s fund offers prenatal and postnatal care and delivery at partner hospitals for as low as $40 total out-of-pocket costs. With the HEAL Act clearing both houses of the NYS legislature, the bill now goes to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk for her signature.
32BJ President Kyle Bragg said:
“New York’s private hospitals have gotten away with quietly raising their prices, escalating the cost of healthcare, and putting affordable, quality care out of reach for hardworking individuals, including the half a million working people represented by 32BJ and the Coalition for Affordable Hospitals.
“Passing the Hospital Equity and Affordability Law (HEAL) is a significant step towards creating a more equitable healthcare system for all New Yorkers. We are proud to see our state legislators pass HEAL and commit to ensuring hospitals cannot continue their predatory contracting practices, which drive up prices and keep consumers in the dark.
We thank bill sponsors State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz for their tireless efforts to level the playing field for working people, and we are grateful for the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. We look forward to HEAL going to the Governor’s desk.”
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.