New York City launches $100 million universal health insurance program

Bill de Blasio

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday issued a bold guarantee of affordable health care for every resident, thrusting the nation's largest city to the forefront of debates over universal health coverage and immigrant rights.

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.

He said despite efforts to fully implement Obamacare, there are 600,000 city residents who lack insurance, including undocumented persons who can not access federal benefits. "It's being treated in a language you can understand by people who actually care about your health and well-being". Calhoon said immigrants and low-income New Yorkers aren't the only ones who would benefit from expanded access to care. "We are saying the word "guarantee" because we can make it happen", he announced, pledging to put $100 million toward the new initiative.

Starting immediately, the city will rely on its own public insurance program, known as MetroPlus, to try to attract about 300,000 uninsured residents eligible for coverage.

The city already provides health care to the uninsured through its hospital system, but the mayor says he wants a more streamlined and user-friendly approach.

"We applaud Governor Newsom for building on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act in his first official action", Lee said in a statement.

"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. "It would protect them from having to choose between losing pay and going to their kid's graduation or the funeral of a loved one", Sonn said. "It is the worst way to get health care". The mayor is trying to do what some of his predecessors attempted-shift patients away from the emergency room and into primary care, or clinics.


The mayor said all services would be affordable on a sliding scale for those who are able to pay a portion of the costs, while those who can not afford to pay will receive care for free.

He's also repeatedly spoken out against the dangers sanctuary cities pose to USA citizens when illegal immigrant criminals are protected.

De Blasio's office credited the law, informally known as Obamacare, with bringing the number of uninsured Americans down to almost half of what it was in 2013.

As to why undocumented residents were included in the program, "I'm here to tell you everyone needs coverage, everyone needs a place to turn", said de Blasio.

The program is expected to launch this summer.

While the City Council is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, the plan is likely to engender opposition from the city's business community, which has already cried foul over the mayor's tax increases.

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