Bill de Blasio unveils plan for universal health care

January 8, 2019 GMT

In a surprise announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the city will launch a program that offers health services to people who’ve been shut out of insurance options or affordable care, including illegal immigrants.

The Democrat said his program would introduce NYC Care, a system that allows anyone to receive primary care, specialty care, prescription drugs and other services at city health clinics, hospitals and 70 other locations. The services would be priced on a sliding scale, to ensure patients can afford them.

The plan is slated to launch in the summer and roll out geographically, starting in the Bronx, and reach all five boroughs by 2021. The sweeping plan is estimated to cost $100 million per year.

Mr. de Blasio drew a contrast between the sweeping expansion of taxpayer-funded options and GOP proposals that would have curtailed funding.


“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, regardless of immigration status or their ability to pay,” Mr. de Blasio said.

He said despite efforts to fully implement Obamacare, there are 600,000 city residents who lack insurance, including undocumented persons who cannot access federal benefits.

“If we don’t help people get the health care, we’re going to pay plenty on the back end when people get really sick. We’re going to have a lot of people going to work sick and making everyone else sick,” Mr. de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “We want a healthy society in every sense and here is a way to invest upfront to get it right.”