New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a surprise announcement Tuesday; effectively "guaranteeing" universal healthcare for "every single resident" living in the Big Apple that doesn't have insurance.
Unlike the MetroPlus plan, NYC Care is a program that leverages the city's hospital system. It will launch this summer and roll out geographically, starting in the Bronx. The plan will cost "at least $100 million annually at full scale", the press release noted.
Details of how those seeking care could do so under the new plan were not immediately clear.
The unprecedented city government plan is not considered "health insurance", but rather a city payment for direct comprehensive care, and Politico estimated the cost to be around $100 million. In this city, we're going to make that a reality.
"This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs [emergency rooms]) for people who can't afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers", New York City Mayor's Office spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted Tuesday morning. Officials expect it will be two years before they can get the plan completely off the ground, but once it is, "Every New Yorker who needs a doctor will have an actual doctor with a name, they'll have a place [to go], they'll have a card that will empower them to go whenever they need", de Blasio pledged.
He also said the program known as "NYC Care" is going to "revolutionize" health care because "people now, they are going to the emergency room - that is the default health care provider for so many people in this country".
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De Blasio says that when people know their health care is guaranteed it will change their behavior. It provides no health coverage for residents traveling outside of the city, officials said at the news conference. Primary and specialty care will be part of the city's health care offer, including pediatrics, OB-GYN, mental health and geriatric medical services. Right now, he explained, numerous city's uninsured put off medical attention when they need it because they assume they can't afford it. Don't wait. Don't feel it's not for you.
'If we don't help people get the health care, we're going to pay plenty on the back-end when people get really sick, ' he said.
That will include undocumented people, regardless of immigration status, de Blasio said.
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