As the music industry celebrates 50 years of hip-hop, some of the genre’s biggest stars are using the anniversary to advocate for better healthcare practices.
Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, French Montana and Chuck D teamed up with the nonprofit Power to the Patients for a powerful new PSA message asking for more transparency in the U.S. healthcare system.
“For 50 years now, hip-hop has been a reflection of culture and society, that includes stories of struggle and pain, social injustice, racial inequality [and] the marginalization of communities,” the stars state in the PSA. “Today, we confront a healthcare system that has been rigged against all of us. Hospitals force patients to sign contracts for services without ever showing us actual prices.”
With “stifling competition [and] overcharging without accountability,” the artists claim that if people can’t pay their medical costs, “these same contracts allow them to take everything we own, creating so much fear that millions and millions of Americans refuse to enter a hospital, putting out health and our lives at stake.”
The group goes on to call the situation “an American humanitarian crisis,” adding, “We love our nurses, and we need our doctors, but hospitals and insurers [are] rigging a system to make profits off of people [that are] in struggle, is unforgivable. We demand prices and transparency in healthcare.”
The PSA comes days after the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act was pulled from the House of Representatives floor as some top Democrats threatened to object to the bill, according to Politico. The legislation looked to support both patients and healthcare workers by increasing the transparency of healthcare and prescription drug prices, as listed on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s website.
In July 2023, the Patient Rights Advocate reported in their semi-annual study that medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country, and only 36 percent of American hospitals comply with the Federal Price Transparency Rule, which requires hospitals to provide pricing information to patients.
Fat Joe, 53, for his part, has previously made multiple White House visits with Power to the Patients to discuss healthcare concerns with Capitol Hill lawmakers. In June, the rapper and the organization joined union groups and City Council Members at Mayor Eric Adams’ signing of the Healthcare Accountability and Consumer Protection Act in New York City. The act established the first U.S. Office of Health Care Accountability, allowing New York residents to compare the prices of medical services at different hospitals.
“In the Bronx, you have women working two, three jobs, men working two, three jobs, and unfortunately the hospital bills are so high that people become scared to go to the hospital,” Joe told CNN in May. “At the end of the day, I come from a community of people who championed me and stood by my side and helped me get to where I am. And so, I gotta always think of them and be conscious of the voiceless. It’s about my community. It’s about helping people.”