Hochul signs bills on drug price increases and medical debt

Governor Kathy Hochul signed several pieces of legislation Wednesday aimed at protecting New Yorkers from drug price increases and financial consequences related to medical debt, the governor's office said.

One law bans the sale of drugs at an unconscionably excessive price during a drug shortage, which would be defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

One of these prohibits hospitals, healthcare professionals and ambulances from reporting medical debts to credit institutions. According to a 2023 study from the Urban Institute, 740,000 New Yorkers have medical debt on their credit report, with people of color twice as likely to have medical debt referred to a credit bureau, and low-income people three times as likely.

A third new law will require companies to notify customers of automatic subscription renewals and provide clear instructions for canceling those services.

Another law will clarify that sellers must charge the highest price a consumer can pay for a product, regardless of payment methods.

“As costs and inflation continue to rise, consumer protection is one of the ways our state is giving New Yorkers more purchasing power and keeping hard-earned money in their pockets,” Hochul said in a statement. “This legislation will help protect people struggling with medical debt, unwanted subscriptions and price confusion at the checkout. No one should have to jump through hoops to protect their finances and today we are taking steps to help New Yorkers on their journey to financial freedom.”

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