Bill de Blasio unveils plan for universal health care

Bronx Gets Priority in de Blasio's NYC Care Initiative

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will be launching a plan to guarantee health care coverage for all residents, which includes illegal immigrants living in the city.

The mayor's two-pronged approach will harness the MetroPlus Health Plan, a subsidiary of the city's public hospital system that offers coverage to more than half-a-million New Yorkers via Medicaid, Medicare and Affordable Care Act policies.

"We're going to make sure it's seamless because that way people actually are encouraged to get the health care they need and never get to the point where they end up in the emergency room", he said on "Morning Joe". Unlike most health coverage, however, the care will be available only within New York City. "We want people to be in business and thrive, but we also want to make sure that people are protected", Councilman Jumaane Williams told CBS2's Marcia Kramer.

New York City's bold new healthcare program will be the biggest and most comprehensive health coverage program in the country.

"We are not going to fall for the trick of waiting for Washington, D.C., to solve our problems", the mayor said. And because more people will get preventive care, the city might actually save money, he added. It will cost at least $100 million, but the mayor said that the city would save a lot because fewer people would go to the emergency room, which provides pricey and inefficient care. When you get people in front of a physician in a timely manner, when you avoid hospitalizations and intensive treatments, you cut out a staggering expense: Those savings are projected to help cover NYC Care.

The surprise announcement was met with support, but also questions from Brooklyn elected officials including Borough President Eric Adams and Flatbush Councilmember Jumaane Williams.

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The program, NYC Care, will launch this summer in the Bronx.

"I refuse the notion that these folks don't deserve health care", de Blasio, a Democrat, said of undocumented immigrants. Nor was arithmetic presented to document how much the city would save on city-paid emergency and hospital care by making preventive care more accessible.

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

De Blasio said the plan will offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale that is based on income. For example, "here, psychotherapy is a covered benefit; that's not true in San Francisco. and the current program [there] has an enrollment of about 20,000 people; that's a New York City block".

The mayor's office insists the NYC Care program is not intended as a substitute for a universal health insurance plan that some Democratic state legislators are pushing for, or a national single-payer plan.

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