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New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program

09 January 2019

The basic premise: The approximately 600,000 uninsured people now living in New York City will gain free or affordable access to primary and secondary providers, thanks to a strengthened public insurance plan (the existing MetroPlus) and a new program called NYC Care.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Tuesday that the city would roll out an unprecedented initiative offering free health care to all residents - including illegal immigrants.

Residents will be able to access the program via the city's website or calling the city of NY at 311. "We can make it happen".

The plan isn't an individual insurance plan or a single-payer health program such as the Medicare for All plan touted by progressives. 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 program is available to anyone who does not have an affordable insurance option, de Blasio said. The sweeping plan is estimated to cost $100 million per year. That program, NYC Care, will launch this summer and will cost at least $100 million annually at full scale, the city said.

City Hall said the Affordable Care Act gave eight million New Yorkers health insurance, but 600,000 New Yorkers still remain without insurance because they either, do not, or can not enroll. The plan will cover everyone regardless of ability pay or immigration status, according to a local news report.

Bill de Blasio at a press conference announcing NYC Care. 'This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can't afford it or can't get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,00 undocumented New Yorkers'. He said the city will make sure the process is "seamless". Mayor de Blasio is an expert at unveiling cloud-castles and proclaiming himself a master builder.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City New York U.S
Gov. Jay Inslee pushes public health insurance statewide

'Emergency rooms are the default health care provider for so many people in this country.

The Democrat said his program would introduce NYC Care, a system that allows anyone to receive primary care, specialty care, prescription drugs and other services at city health clinics, hospitals and 70 other locations.

'If folks get primary care or mental health services when they need them at the right point in life, that means you avoid everything from homelessness, incarceration, people losing their jobs'. "We are doing just the opposite".

"If we don't help people get the health care, we're going to pay plenty on the back end when people get really sick. Then we're working out the finances".

"This is a big step in the right direction-but healthcare is still a human right, and must be extended to everyone in the state!"

New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program