New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program
09 January, 2019, 02:08
- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday a new plan to provide all New Yorkers with health care coverage. "In this city, we're going to make that a reality", de Blasio said. The city already has a kind of public option for health insurance for low-income New Yorkers, through an insurance plan run by city hospitals and known as MetroPlus.
The mayor has styled himself, in his 2017 re-election campaign and during his second term, as a progressive leader on issues like health care and as a bulwark against the policies of President Trump, particularly on immigration. Officials hope to get the program up and running within two years, and while they weren't able to project wait times for secondary physicians, they hope that participants won't have to wait more than a week or two to see a primary doctor.
According to Bloomberg, NYC Care will begin in the Bronx this year, and is expected to be available to all New Yorkers in 2021. New Yorkers can access the program via the city's website or by calling 311.
Beyond just providing citizens with a primary care physician, the mayor says specialty care, mental health services and other services will be available under the program.
"We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of neighbors who happen to be undocumented - they're still part of our community, they need health care, their families need health care", de Blasio added. That's fine, as far as it goes, but as a transformative, revolutionary program, it resembles telling people to call the Housing Authority if they need an apartment and then pretending that the housing crisis has been solved.
Gov. Jay Inslee pushes public health insurance statewide
There are now about 600,000 New Yorkers who were not able to be covered under Obamacare, many of them younger people who do not think they need insurance, he added. We want to increase the amount of healthcare that people can reach. "That's the ideal, that what we need", de Blasio said.
Bill de Blasio at a press conference announcing NYC Care. The panel concluded, in the words of a Newsday editorial, that "for patients, emphasis would be on primary care instead of hurried emergency-room sessions and days of hospitalization". Trying to take away the right to health care.
"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.
De Blasio said he believes the program will pay for itself because fewer residents would have to rely on costly emergency room visits to get treatment.
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