Bill de Blasio unveils plan for universal health care

Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio made a surprise announcement on Tuesday, January 8, saying the city will soon guarantee comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status.

"The programs will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers - regardless of their insurance - make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services", de Blasio's office claimed in a release.

De Blasio explained a day earlier that the plan, referred to as "NYC Care", will reach almost 600,000 New Yorkers and cost taxpayers at least $100 million. "If John or Jane Doe is sick, now they know exactly where to go".

"We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of neighbors who happen to be undocumented - they're still part of our community, they need health care, their families need health care", de Blasio added.

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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.

New Yorkers who apply for NYC Care services will receive primary care-mental and physical health care services included-like physicians, psychotherapy, and pharmaceuticals.

"Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it", de Blasio said in a statement.

'Emergency rooms are the default health care provider for so many people in this country.

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Fees for the NYC Care services will be based on sliding scale charges, meaning people will pay for health care services based on their income.

Katz noted that NYC Care is a more encompassing program than the one developed in San Francisco, where he used to work.

The plan also rests on recent efforts to strengthen the shaky finances of the NYC Health + Hospitals system, which nevertheless "still faces substantial financial challenges", according to a forecast last month by the New York City Independent Budget Office.

"Everyone wants employees to have a fair amount of vacation time, but one-size-fits-all government mandates tend to make it harder to hire, grow businesses and create jobs", said Michael Steel, a Republican operative who served as an aide to former House Speaker John Boehner.

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De Blasio's $100 million commitment was laden with political significance: He delivered it hours before a prime-time speech by President Trump, who was expected to defend his assertion that the country faces a crisis of illegal immigration. "We want it to be seamless; if you have questions, here's where to call". He added that NY has a public health insurance option, MetroPlus, that the city aims to improve, expand and support through NYC Care. But while many liberal members of the Senate and Assembly say they favor an expansion of state-run health care, finding the money to pay for such a program would be challenging. "It is the worst way to get health care".

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