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Union Leaders ‘Call For Immediate Action’ As Four Million New Yorkers ‘Face The Loss’ Of Health Care

Published Friday, April 30, 2021
by Silver Krieger/
Union Leaders ‘Call For Immediate Action’ As Four Million New Yorkers ‘Face The Loss’ Of Health Care

(NEW YORK CITY) - Union Leaders, lawmakers and health experts rallied this week against predatory hospital pricing and the looming threat of four million New Yorkers losing their in-network health coverage.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital is threatening to leave Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Network today (May 30th), immediately subjecting millions of patients to huge out-of-network charges and disruptions to their health care coverage.

New York-Presbyterian hospital charges 370% of the Medicare reimbursement rate, despite receiving a $687 million taxpayer-funded bailout from the CARES Act - and an untold amount from the American Recovery Act.

Reigning in their inflated costs could save the city billions of dollars that could be spent on public services, wages for Workers and budget shortfalls

The States of California, North Carolina and others are already pushing back against similar predatory hospital pricing.

32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Vice President Manny Pastreich denounced “out-of-control hospital pricing” and called the situation a “time bomb ticking” during a meeting with reporters Tuesday (April 27th) morning.

Union President Kyle Bragg highlighted the crisis facing “Black and Brown Workers who are unemployed and face food insecurity and COVID-19.”

He said predatory hospital pricing “eats up wages” and threatens the survival of Working Class New Yorkers.

“The costs come out of Workers’ pockets,” Bragg said. “We must look at ways to make it easier to work here and stay here in New York.”

DC 37 represents 150,000 Essential City Workers and 1,000 Retirees.

The on-going COVID-19 Pandemic has already claimed the lives of some 200 Union Members. 

Executive Director Henry Garrido called the reduction of in-network coverage a “travesty” and “simply criminal.”  “(Hospitals) care more about profits than people,” he said. 

32BJ Member Ronnie Correa, a Building Doorman and Porter, said he was told he wasn’t covered for some of the side effects he was experiencing after being stricken with COVID-19.

Exploding hospital costs are now preventing him from seeking further treatment.

Many of his Co-Workers feel the same.

“What hospitals are doing is not right,” Correa said. “We are around tenants, contractors.  We are at the front lines.”

32BJ Member Elijah MacKay suffered through COVID-19, along with his entire family.

The veteran Security Officer at 140 Broadway said the cost of private health insurance is already sky high and keeps increasing: “Our employers say they don’t have the money to give us raises and pay health care costs.   I need both.  We are essential.  We put our life on the line and our families’.”

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