NYC to Guarantee Health Care to All, Including Undocumented Immigrants

Desiree Burns
January 10, 2019

New York City will spend up to $100 million a year to expand health care coverage to people without health insurance, including immigrants who are in the US illegally, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

MAYOR BILL De Blasio (second from right) announces a plan to offer low-cost or free health insurance to low-income New Yorkers.

The mayor tweeted "Through our own public health option and a new program called NYC Care, we'll ensure the first stop for people isn't the emergency room".

De Blasio said NYC Care would work on a "sliding scale" where "people will pay what they can" for care.

City residents will be able to access the new program on the local government's website or by calling 311. And if health care insurance did cost $166 per person per year then it wouldn't be a problem, would it?

New York City taxpayers are burdened by a city income tax on top of New York State and federal income taxes they must pay.

"We don't want people to go out of business.

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MetroPlus serves as an affordable, quality option for people on Medicaid, Medicare, and those purchasing insurance on the exchange".

The city already provides health care to the uninsured through its hospital system, but the mayor says he wants a more streamlined and user-friendly approach. "When New Yorkers enroll in NYC Care they'll be set up with a primary care doctor who can refer them [to mental health and substance abuse services], and psychiatric therapy sessions are also included".

The plan also rests on recent efforts to strengthen the shaky finances of the NYC Health + Hospitals system, which nevertheless "still faces substantial financial challenges", according to a forecast last month by the New York City Independent Budget Office. "We as a country must get there, and New York City will lead the way", de Blasio said.

The surprise announcement was met with support, but also questions from Brooklyn elected officials including Borough President Eric Adams and Flatbush Councilmember Jumaane Williams. "It is the worst way to get health care".

The NYC Care plan would improve that coverage, which already insures some 516,000 people, and aim to reach more of those who are eligible, such as the young and uninsured, and others who qualify but have not applied. "The things that attract companies to being in NY in the first place won't just go away when something like this is put into action". He argued that preventative care and access to primary care doctors will cut down on emergency room visits. The city intends to set up a 24/7 help line to assist people with their after-hours needs as well.

The mayor promised that no tax increases are needed to fund the program; the $100 million will come from the city's existing budget, now about $90 billion.

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