ABC Newsreports that de Blasio's new plan, NYC Care, isn't exactly a "universal health care" plan, but rather a "guarantee" that city will pay for preventative medical care for an estimated 600,000 who do not have insurance, but live within the boundaries of New York City.
De Blasio added, "Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down health care". 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.
New York City does not plan to raise taxes on residents to fund the new initiative, as de Blasio says the program and its costs will be phased in over the span of several years, USA Today reported.
De Blasio said it will be paid for through the public health care system and he believes it will ultimately save money by preventing trips to the emergency room.
The health care programs will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers "make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services", the news release said. "It is the worst [kind] of health care". "NYC Care will provide a primary care doctor and will provide access to specialty care, prescription drugs, mental health services, hospitalization, and more".
When asked why New Yorkers should pay for the health care of undocumented immigrants or young invincibles, De Blasio said they already pay plenty when the community isn't healthy. Part of the idea NYC Care, aides to the mayor said, was to ease that burden while providing better health care to New Yorkers. "And we're doing that here in this city", he told host Willie Geist.
'Emergency rooms are the default health care provider for so many people in this country. "For people who have the ability to pay, we'll be expecting that people pay what they can".
'There are enormous savings, humanly and economically, to getting it right. It is expected to launch in the Bronx first this summer, and be available in the other boroughs by 2021. We're going the opposite direction.
Residents will be able to access the program via the city's website or calling the city of NY at 311.