Its enough to make you sick.
One of the city’s largest unions is urging Mayor Eric Adams to help stop private hospitals from jacking up prices on procedures — insisting it could save the Big Apple billions amid a looming fiscal crisis.
The 32BJ union, which represents more than 100,000 property service workers, commissioned a report that found the city could be overpaying nearly $2 billion annually on hospital costs because private providers are charging 3-4 times more than the public system for the same services.
The union argues that reining in sky-high, disparate prices is needed now more than ever given the city is trying to cut costs across the board as it faces a projected $10 billion deficit.
“With the city facing a massive budget deficit and spending cuts that will impact its ability to serve New Yorkers we can’t double down on disaster by also overpaying billions of dollars on inflated hospitals costs,” Manny Patreich, the union’s secretary treasurer told The Post this week.
“We count on hospitals to act in good faith but heading into Thanksgiving and the holiday season, seeing them take millions more in tax breaks than they invest in our communities while charging outrageous prices is nothing to be thankful for.”
The 32BJ Health Fund report, which was revised earlier this month, found a number of discrepancies between private and public hospital costs:
- An inpatient cesarean procedure cost around $17,861 on average at a NYC Health + Hospitals facility, but skyrocketed to just over $55,077 at the private Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
- An outpatient colonoscopy ranged from an average of $10,368 at New York–Presbyterian to $2,185 at the city’s public hospitals.
- Outpatient cataract surgery costs an average of $4,245 in the public system but as much as $18,144 at NYU Langone Health
- An outpatient gall bladder surgery procedure costs, on average, $4,594 at a NYC Health + Hospitals facility but jumps to $19,039 at Northwell Health hospitals.
- An outpatient breast biopsy would set a person back an average of $3,363 in a public hospital but $8,674 at Montefiore.
As part of a multimillion dollar campaign, 32BJ teamed up with the Realty Advisory Board to push out two new TV advertisements this week that call on the Adams administration to consider the skyrocketing hospital prices in the midst of overall city budget woes.
“The forecast is bleak. And it’s not just winter coming. New York City is facing a $10 billion budget shortfall,” one of the ads say, referencing the dismal economic forecast projected by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
“But there’s money to plug the hole. If the city looked in the right place. The city could be overpaying for hospital costs by as much as $2 billion every year according to a new report. That’s vital funding lost for schools and other city services. Our leaders need to take action because watching hospitals jack up prices while our city struggles is enough to make you sick.”
The second ad cites findings from a newly released Lown Institute report that argues tax breaks provided by the city to private hospitals aren’t worth it.
“Skyrocketing hospital prices are costing working people thousands of dollars in lost income. Medical debt is now the leading cause of bankruptcy,” the ad says.
“Yet some of New York’s biggest private hospitals got 700 million more in tax breaks than what they spent on community benefits — while patients keep paying higher prices.”
City Hall has already ordered a series of belt-tightening measures, including eliminating vacant spots in city agencies and ordering them to make across the board cuts in a bid to close a $2.9 billion budget gap this year.
“Hospital prices are one of the biggest expenses for the city’s biggest public and private employers. It’s not fiscally sensible or sustainable to continue paying billions more than it should on hospitals costs when the city is facing a major budget deficit and businesses are struggling to bring back jobs,” said Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board.
The 32BJ union is also pushing City Hall to pass a bill next month, sponsored by Councilwoman Julie Menin (D-Upper East Side), which would create a new office of “hospital transparency.”
The city doesn’t have the power to cap prices but the bill would help force hospitals and insurance companies to disclose their negotiated pricings.
A City Hall spokesperson told The Post: “We look forward to reviewing these bills when they are introduced, and working with partners in the council and in labor to ensure every New Yorker has access to quality and affordable health care.”
The Greater New York Hospital Association, which advocates for a string of private hospitals across the Big Apple, didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.