New York City launches $100 mln universal health insurance program

Maricruz Casares
Enero 10, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to roll out a government funded plan to guarantee every New York City resident comprehensive healthcare, regardless of immigration status or one's ability to pay.

Mayor Bill de Blasio first broadcast the plan on MSNBC Tuesday morning, offering more details at a press conference held at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.

As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro pointed out on Twitter, de Blasio's government estimates the plan will cost the city no more than $100 million per year - an amount that de Blasio says precludes having to raise taxes to cover the program. The city said last week that an ambitious goal of providing MetroCards to about 800,000 residents whose incomes are below the federal poverty line would start this month with cards for only about 30,000 people, or about four percent of the total. "We want people to be in business and thrive, but we also want to make sure that people are protected", Councilman Jumaane Williams told CBS2's Marcia Kramer.

He also said that no new taxes would be issued to pay for the plan, noting that "we're going to pay for" this "through our public health care system because we're making it a priority". 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".

The plan, which needs city council approval, would make New York City the first city in the nation with such a requirement.

"It's going to be really important for people who have felt excluded from the system or didn't know how to get services", she said, "or imagined that "H and H" only has emergency-department services".

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

"Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it", de Blasio said in a statement on Tuesday. "For 600,000 New Yorkers without any kind of insurance, mental healthcare remains out of reach [but this changes that]", she said.

The tendency of a segment of the population to avoid the health-care system until a critical moment, relying in effect on emergency rooms for primary care, has been the knottiest problem in public health for decades. Our citizens have a hard enough time covering their own healthcare costs and now Mayor de Blasio also wants them to pay for the healthcare of 300,000 citizens of other countries. Mayor de Blasio is an expert at unveiling cloud-castles and proclaiming himself a master builder.

Mitchell Katz, MD, president and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, the city's public healthcare network, noted that prescription drugs are one thing most people are anxious about being able to afford, but "under this program, pharmaceutical costs are covered".

The current financial plan for city hospitals projects budget shortfalls of over $156 million in 2018, increasing to $1.8 billion in 2022, according to the city's Independent Budget Office.

The progressive mayor stated that he believes NYC Care will act as a springboard for the rest of the country to follow suit and ultimately implement a nationwide universal health care program.

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