Friday, 18 January, 2019

NYC Mayor's Healthcare Guarantee Includes Illegal Immigrants

Bill de Blasio Modal Trigger Getty Images
Melissa Porter | 10 January, 2019, 22:11

New York City Mayor New York City will spend $100 million to provide health care for undocumented immigrants and others who can not qualify for insurance, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday morning, seeking to insert a city policy into two contentious national debates.

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled on Tuesday NYC Care, a comprehensive plan to provide health care to all New York City residents, including undocumented immigrants.

While contrasting NYC Care with the Republican effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, the mayor said the city's new program is specific to the needs of New York City and was likely not suitable to be applied at a state or national level.

New York City's bold new healthcare program will be the biggest and most comprehensive health coverage program in the country. In this city we are going to make that a reality in this city we are taking that ideal and putting it into practice.

The city claims that this is not an insurance program; it already has a public option.

"The emergency room is the default health care provider for so many people in this country", said de Blasio. 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 health care programs will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers "make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services", the news release said.

He told the news conference that he would love to see a single-payer health care system enacted by Congress or by NY state lawmakers, but "our people need health care right now".

De Blasio said the plan will offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale that is based on income.

If you think health care's expensive now you wait and see what it costs when it's free.

The mayor portrayed this guarantee of health care as a sequel to insurance gains the city has made through the ACA. "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".

"We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of our neighbors, who happen to be undocumented", the mayor continued.

NYC Care is set to begin in the Bronx this summer and will roll out to the rest of the boroughs by 2021. Health experts say that access to regular medical visits can cut down on costly hospital stays.

Otherwise, the city's estimate averages out to $160 per person in medical costs per year.

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.