Mayor de Blasio Announces Universal Health Care Plan

By Robert Press

Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Lincoln Hospital (one of the New York City-run hospitals) to announce a partnership with the NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation and Bronx-based health insurer Metro Plus called New York Care.

New York Care will serve the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who do not currently have any health insurance, by guaranteeing anyone ineligible for insurance coverage the ability for quality health care on a sliding scale according to one’s ability to pay. This plan will offer New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants, direct access to NYC H+H physicians, pharmacies, mental health, and substance abuse services.

There will be friendly call-in lines to help subscribers make appointments with primary care doctors, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists, and a full spectrum of health care services. The city’s information line 311 would also be used to enroll people.

Mayor de Blasio said health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. He added that while certain forces at the federal level are working to gut health care for millions of Americans, New York City is going the opposite way by guaranteeing all New Yorkers have access to quality, comprehensive access to care, regardless of immigration status or their ability to pay.

Mayor de Blasio added that over the past few years NYC Health + Hospitals has ended its consistent hemorrhaging of money to become a stable public corporation which has turned the tide to be able to offer this program with Metro Plus. The city will kick in an additional one-hundred million dollars to make sure New York Care gets off the ground and is successful in getting health care to as many of the 600,000 currently uninsured New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicity, and income levels.

In answer to a question of coverage outside of New York State, the mayor said if you are enrolled in Metro Plus you will have nationwide coverage like any other health insurance company. He warned, however, if you are under the NYCHHC plan that you would only be covered in New York State.

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