Mayor Bill de Blasio's ambitious plan, dubbed the "most comprehensive plan in the nation", will serve some 600,000 New Yorkers without insurance by strengthening the city's public health insurance option - MetroPlus.
The $100 million plan, dubbed "NYC Care", is created to provide health insurance for the 600,000 New Yorkers who have either opted out of purchasing insurance, can not afford the premiums available on the state's health-care exchange, or are ineligible for coverage because they are not citizens of the United States. Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we'll ensure the first stop for people isn't the emergency room.
NYC Care will start rolling out in coming months and will take more than two years to be fully implemented, de Blasio said. "If John or Jane Doe is sick, now they know exactly where to go".
De Blasio makes it sound as though illegal immigrants have not been able to get health care until now. Aviles said that the city was renowned for its "significant innovations in expanding access to care for immigrants, including our financial assistance policies that provide deeply discounted fees for the uninsured, our comprehensive communications assistance for limited English proficiency patients, and our strictly enforced confidentiality policies that afford new immigrants a sense of security in accessing needed care".
Ahead of the first state legislative sessions of the year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his intentions to guarantee Paid Personal Time for all workers in the city.
"Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it", de Blasio said in a statement.
Under NYC Care, a full spectrum of health care services, ranging from general practitioners to specialty care including cardiologists, pediatricians and gynecologists, will be made available on a sliding pay scale. 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's not as big a deal as the mayor is making it out to be", said Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute.
"You know the national reality, the Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down healthcare, trying to tear down the universality of health care coverage, get rid of Obamacare".
Williams also wondered about de Blasio's implementation strategy but welcomed that mental health services would be included under NYC Care. Only New York City residents are eligible for NYC Care.
Mitchell Katz, MD, president and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, the city's public healthcare network, noted that prescription drugs are one thing most people are anxious about being able to afford, but "under this program, pharmaceutical costs are covered".