A new plan to provide all New York City residents, even undocumented immigrants, with health care coverage is groundbreaking and has "never been done in the country in a comprehensive way", Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
ABC News reports that de Blasio's new plan, NYC Care, isn't exactly a "universal health care" plan, but rather a "guarantee" that city will pay for preventative medical care for an estimated 600,000 who do not have insurance, but live within the boundaries of New York City.
"We recognized that obviously health care is not just in theory a right", De Blasio told media ahead of his announcement.
The liberal mayor said the plan will serve the 600,000 New Yorkers who don't have insurance by strengthening NYC's public health insurance option, MetroPlus. New York City already has a public health care option.
Health-care coverage has become a deeply partisan issue in the United States, with Trump's Republican party pushing to repeal the 2010 Obamacare law while the liberal wing of the Democratic party has taken up calls to adopt a federally funded single-payer system that would cover all Americans.
'If folks get primary care or mental health services when they need them at the right point in life, that means you avoid everything from homelessness, incarceration, people losing their jobs'.
"When this plan is fully implemented every New Yorker who needs a doctor will have an actual doctor with a name and a place, they're going to have a card that will empower them to go to that doctor whenever they need".
When asked why New Yorkers should pay for the health care of undocumented immigrants or young invincibles, De Blasio said they already pay plenty when the community isn't healthy. "We want them to have primary care, we want them to have specialty care", De Blasio crowed in a press release, according to local media. It is expected to launch in the Bronx first this summer, and be available in the other boroughs by 2021. "And we're doing that here in this city". The emergency room is the worst way to get health care, it's the most expensive way to get health care, ' he said. We want to increase the amount of healthcare that people can reach. He added that the program will be up and running this year and will be built out over the next few years.