New York City on Tuesday launched a $100-million U.S. health insurance program to cover 600,000 uninsured city residents, including those unable to afford coverage and people living in the United States illegally, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Residents will be able to access the program via the city's website or calling the city of NY at 311. "We have to make it in practice a right".
The $100 million plan, dubbed "NYC Care", is created to provide health insurance for the 600,000 New Yorkers who have either opted out of purchasing insurance, can not afford the premiums available on the state's health-care exchange, or are ineligible for coverage because they are not citizens of the United States.
"As property taxes continue to rise at an unprecedented and unsustainable speed, impacting homeowners and renters alike, Mayor de Blasio continues to look for ways to spend their hard earned money by placing a heavier burden on the hardworking taxpayers of this city".
It would also provide direct city spending, about $100 million per year when fully implemented, on those without insurance, including undocumented immigrants, who already can receive care at the emergency rooms of city-run hospitals.
NYC Care will be launched in the Bronx later this year and expand to all New Yorkers in 2021.
"We're gonna work for those bigger changes", the mayor said.
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"Health care is a human right". The mayor's office was quick to say their plan, to be called NYC Care, would not be a substitute for any universal health care at the state level or a national single-payer plan.
De Blasio added, "Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down health care".
Every person participating in the plan, called "NYC Care", will be assigned a primary care doctor. He said the city will make sure the process is "seamless".
"Under NYC Care, 600,000 New Yorkers, including our undocumented brothers and sisters, will have access to healthcare", declared Winnie Wong, founder of the advocacy group People for Bernie.
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. Mayor de Blasio is an expert at unveiling cloud-castles and proclaiming himself a master builder. We want people to have primary care, specialty care.
I stand with @NYCMayor de Blasio today in declaring health care is a right for all, not a privilege for only those who can afford care. "We are doing just the opposite". It's going to be for the first time a guarantee of health care.
HHC director Mitchell Katz practically admitted that the mayor's announcement of guaranteed health care for all is just fanfare, amounting to more "enabling services" for already-existing programs. "Then we're working out the finances".