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De Blasio Promises Health Care to All New Yorkers

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in New York City, N.Y., November 13, 2018. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city will now guarantee comprehensive health-care coverage to every single city resident.

“Today I’m announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said on MSNBC. “Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we’ll ensure the first stop for people isn’t the emergency room.”

The plan will not provide health insurance to the 600,000 city residents currently without coverage, but it will allow them to get care outside of an emergency-room visit, de Blasio’s office said.

“This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid — including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers,” said de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips on Twitter.

The new program, NYC Care, will build on a program already in place that aims to provide care to undocumented residents. The plan will provide a wide range of services including geriatrics, pediatrics, OBGYN, and mental-health care. Residents will be able to access it through the city website or by calling 311.

There will not be a tax increase to fund the program, the Mayor’s office said, although it is estimated to cost around $100 million.

“We’ll put the money in to make it work; it’s going to save us money down the line,” de Blasio said. “We’re already paying an exorbitant amount to pay for health care the wrong way when what we should be doing is helping them get the primary care.”

“This has never been done in the country in a comprehensive way,” the mayor added. “Health care isn’t just a right in theory, it must be a right in practice. And we’re doing that here in this city.”

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