Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Medicine | By Debra Reynolds

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio guarantees comprehensive health care to all residents

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio guarantees comprehensive health care to all residents

A new plan to provide all New York City residents, even undocumented immigrants, with health care coverage is groundbreaking and has "never been done in the country in a comprehensive way", Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

NYC Care, which will be launched in the Bronx borough in the summer of 2019, will expand across the entire city by 2021 and cost at least $100 million annually, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

The unprecedented city government plan is not considered "health insurance", but rather a city payment for direct comprehensive care, and Politico estimated the cost to be around $100 million. "We're going to guarantee health care for New Yorkers who need it", de Blasio said.

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'We have now, in New York City, a public health insurance option we're ready to make much bigger that can reach the hundreds of thousands that are right now not in any kind of health insurance'.

"No one should have to live in fear", the mayor said. "Don't feel you can't afford it. Get the health care that you need when you need it". "We recognize that obviously health care isn't just, in theory, a right; it's in practice a right". 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.

The mayor himself also took to Twitter to share the health care directive: "Today I'm announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers". Right now, he explained, numerous city's uninsured put off medical attention when they need it because they assume they can't afford it.

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"Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we'll ensure the first stop for people isn't the emergency room", the NYC mayor tweeted Tuesday morning after the surprising announcement on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Of the 8.6 million New Yorkers, the program will target the 600,000 that now don't have insurance, he said. It provides no health coverage for residents traveling outside of the city, officials said at the news conference. "In the last couple of years there's been tremendous focus, tremendous energy, pinpoint precision in Washington among Republicans trying to reduce the amount of health care people get". 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".

De Blasio said, as it is, people are using the emergency room as "default health care provider for so many people in this country". His "health care for all" effort seems little different. The mayor does not plan on raises taxes to pay for the plan.

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