Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City New York U.S New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program
Celia Hoffman | 09 January, 2019, 00:38

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that all residents, regardless of citizenship status or ability to pay, will be guaranteed comprehensive health care.

The announcement on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," comes as the newly Democrat-controlled state legislature in Albany is weighing some form of universal health insurance for New York State.

"Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it", de Blasio said in a statement. "In this city, we're going to make that a reality", de Blasio said. The mayor's office was quick to say their plan, to be called NYC Care, would not be a substitute for any universal health care at the state level or a national single-payer plan.

'We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of our neighbors who are undocumented, they're still part of our community and they need health care'.

'If folks get primary care or mental health services when they need them at the right point in life, that means you avoid everything from homelessness, incarceration, people losing their jobs'.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City New York U.S

The potentially $100 million plan will roll out this year and be expanded through the next several years, de Blasio announced Tuesday. Right now, he explained, numerous city's uninsured put off medical attention when they need it because they assume they can't afford it. De Blasio aides told the NY Times that the NYC Care initiative is simply "something the city could do immediately and on its own". New Yorkers can access the program via the city's website or by calling 311. First we're getting you your health care. I want to make sure that's really, really clear. We're going the opposite direction.

"As property taxes continue to rise at an unprecedented and unsustainable speed, impacting homeowners and renters alike, Mayor de Blasio continues to look for ways to spend their hard earned money by placing a heavier burden on the hardworking taxpayers of this city", said Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who challenged de Blasio in the last election.

The mayor said all services would be affordable on a sliding scale for those who are able to pay a portion of the costs, while those who can not afford to pay will receive care for free.

'Emergency rooms are the default health care provider for so many people in this country. The emergency room is the worst way to get health care, it's the most expensive way to get health care, ' he said.

De Blasio said the plan will offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale that is based on income. He added that the program will be up and running this year and will be built out over the next few years.

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