City Promises Health Care to All New Yorkers
Mayor de Blasio introduced a historic change in health care for all New Yorkers during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
For New Yorkers who can't afford health care, 2019 will be a year of change. The mayor announced NYC Care, which will extend health care coverage to all city residents, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. While full details have yet to be disclosed, the plan is projected to cost $100 million yearly and will provide preventative care and a primary doctor to every New Yorker. Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, said the new program "will be the biggest and most comprehensive health coverage program in the country".
The plan sounds like a complement to the NY state Essential Plan, a set of low-cost health insurance plans available for those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford high monthly insurance premiums. Seemingly, the $100 million would cover those who also fall outside the coverage of the Essential Plan, extending health care both those who do not earn enough yearly to afford health insurance and those who cannot apply due to their immigration status.
The aim of a preventative care plan is to avoid higher costs later down the line, when health problems have been ignored and have worsened to the point of an emergency room visit. These costs are still absorbed by the city's hospital system, but can be lessened with preventative care, treating diseases and disorders early for less total cost that will also improve the overall health of the city.
In an afternoon press conference, de Blasio described the new plan as "strengthening NYC’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus, and guaranteeing anyone ineligible for insurance — including undocumented New Yorkers — has direct access to NYC Health + Hospitals’ physicians, pharmacies and mental health and substance abuse services".
Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, added: "New Yorkers who can’t enroll in or afford health insurance will now be able to access comprehensive, patient-centered services through NYC Care."
NYC Care is set to begin in Summer 2019 in the Bronx, and expand citywide by 2021.