New York announces $100 million universal health care plan


NEW YORK, Jan 9, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced
Tuesday the city would spend $100 million to guarantee health care to all its
residents regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay,
bringing coverage to 600,000 uninsured people.

The plan will strengthen the city’s existing public health insurance
option, MetroPlus, and create a new program called NYC Care that guarantees
those who are ineligible for insurance have access to services, including
primary care and specialist doctors, pharmacies, mental health and substance
abuse programs.

NYC Care is set to launch later this year in the Bronx borough, becoming
available across the entire city by 2021, according to a statement.

The project is expected to cost at least $100 million a year when it
achieves its full scale.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford
it,” said the mayor, who has tracked hard to the left following the election
of President Donald Trump.

“While the federal government works to gut health care for millions of
Americans, New York City is leading the way by guaranteeing that every New
Yorker has access to quality, comprehensive access to care.”

Trump made reversing former president Barack Obama’s health care law a key
pledge of his campaign, and his Republican party successfully repealed in
2017 a key provision intended to keep overall costs down by ensuring healthy
individuals bought insurance.

De Blasio’s office credited the law, informally known as Obamacare, with
bringing the number of uninsured Americans down to nearly half of what it was
in 2013.

In his inaugural speech on Monday, California’s new Democratic Governor
Gavin Newsom announced plans to establish a similar program to the one
unveiled by New York.