Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes and other hip-hop legends fight for transparent healthcare in the US
In a star-studded PSA, leaders of rap’s golden era – from Chuck D of Public Enemy to Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan – call for systemic healthcare reform in America.
In a public service announcement (PSA) released by nonprofit organization Power to the Patients, hip-hop heavyweights unite not to lay down tracks but to urge elected officials to create a transparent, fair and affordable healthcare system for all Americans.
In the film, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, French Montana and Chuck D draw comparisons between the PSA and themes within their music, explaining that hip-hop has always been about raising awareness of societal ills. Today, they say they turn their attention to “a healthcare system that has been rigged against all of us.”
This is, as the rappers say, “creating so much fear that millions and millions of Americans refuse to enter a hospital, putting our health and our lives at stake.” The point is corroborated by research from the National Consumer Law Center, which identifies medical debt as the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in America.
Released just before Congress votes on healthcare transparency bills, the rappers call for stronger and more meaningful price transparency laws. Such regulations would force hospitals and insurance companies nationwide to disclose the actual prices for their services and procedures – as opposed to ‘estimates’ that often stifle competition and lead to overcharging, fear, debt and devastation. They also argue that federal agencies, like the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, suffer from poor transparency rules.
The PSA follows various efforts by Power to the Patients and Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist Fat Joe – together, they have visited The White House multiple times, held meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to express their concerns about the healthcare system and fought on behalf of patients, families, communities, employees, employers and unions.
Earlier this year, the group assisted city council members and various union groups in New York City with their healthcare transparency efforts, which was instrumental in Mayor Eric Adams decision to sign the Healthcare Accountability and Consumer Protection Act in June 2023. The first of its kind in the country, this local law establishes America’s first Office of Health Care Accountability to allow New Yorkers to compare costs charged by hospitals for the same services.
The PSA comes as the hip-hop movement celebrates its 50th anniversary. Many sources credit the birth of the movement to August 11, 1973, the date DJ Kool Herc spun the first breakbeat at a party in the Bronx.
Production: Swift River Productions
Director: Kevin Morra
Executive producer: Paul J Morra
Director of photography: Boaz Freund
Lighting design: Martin Schoeller
Editor: Freddie McGraw
Post-production supervisor: Anthony Carvalho