NY announces US$100 million universal health care plan

Bill de Blasio

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

'This is one universal way to reach all those folks right now who are not covered'.

Bill de Blasio at a press conference announcing NYC Care.

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".

But it's unclear how the program will be funded, and Republicans swiftly objected to using taxpayer dollars to pay for health care for those in the country illegally.

Participants of the program will have access to a comprehensive set of medical services including making appointments with general practitioners and specialists, prescriptions, mental health services, substance abuse services, among others, according to the mayor. And if health care insurance did cost $166 per person per year then it wouldn't be a problem, would it? 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.

Amongst the city's roughly 600,000 uninsured that will be guaranteed such care are an estimated 300,000 so-called undocumented New Yorkers - i.e., illegal aliens.

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The plan is set to be fully rolled out in 2021 and is expected to cost the city at least $100 million annually. The difference, said NYC Health and Hospitals CEO Mitchell Katz, is in the coordination that these participants will receive to get quick access to a doctor instead of showing up to an emergency room or clinic to be checked out.

Washington Insurance Commission Mike Kreidler said the President Donald Trump's administration has put up "real roadblocks" to health care access.

Claudia Calhoon, senior director of immigrant integration policy for the New York Immigration Coalition, said the program will include primary, preventive and specialty care and behavioral health services through New York City Health and Hospitals, the nation's largest public health-care system. "We want a healthy society in every sense and here is a way to invest upfront to get it right". We just have to keep working at it!

The new program, called NYC Care, will be available to everyone in Manhattan and its five boroughs, regardless of existing medical conditions, ability to pay or immigration status, de Blassio says. Early detection and treatment cuts health-care costs overall and saves hospitals money, she said.

Trump made reversing former president Barack Obama's health care law a key pledge of his campaign, and his Republican party successfully repealed in 2017 a key provision meant to keep overall costs down by ensuring healthy individuals bought insurance.

'There are vast savings, humanly and economically, to getting it right. "Today we celebrate our city's relentless commitment to accessible, high-quality healthcare", Palacio continued. "We are going to solve our own problems".

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