Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Protect Patients with Medical Debt
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation to protect patients facing steep medical bills that can lead to wage garnishment or liens against their property.
“No one should face the threat of losing their home or falling into further debt after seeking medical care,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign legislation today that will end this harmful and predatory collection practice to help protect New Yorkers from these unfair penalties. With medical debt a burden for far too many, this is an important step to address this crucial issue.”
Legislation (S.6522A/A.7363A) amends the civil practice law and rules to prohibit health care providers from placing home liens on an individual’s primary residence or garnishing wages to collect on medical debt. Governor Hochul outlined her goals to protect New York’s consumers and improve their financial health in her 2022 State of the State Address, which includes addressing medical debt and protecting consumers from abusive and punitive practices that lead to increased and undeserved financial pressure.
Nearly half of American adults struggle to afford health care costs, and more than 50,000 New Yorkers have been sued for medical debt over the past five years; this problem is most pervasive in Upstate New York. Previously, hospitals or health care providers had been able to impose and enforce liens on a patient’s primary residence to satisfy a judgment in a medical debt lawsuit, leading to housing instability and devastating financial consequences for vulnerable New Yorkers.