New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to lead the progressive charge on the health care front. On Tuesday, de Blasio announced the city would pay for anyone, including illegal aliens, to receive health care, something they've dubbed NYC Care.
The city plans to spend at least $100 million per year on the 600,000 or so who don't qualify for insurance or are in the country illegally can receive medical treatment, the New York Times reported.
From The Times:
The mayor’s office was quick to say that its plan, to be called NYC Care, would not be a substitute for any universal health care at the state level or a national single-payer plan. But, aides said, it was something the city could do immediately and on its own, and not require approval from the State Legislature, which is weighing some form of universal health insurance for New York State.
Indeed, NYC Care would be a mix of insurance and direct spending, and Mr. de Blasio said it would take about two years to get up and running. The city already has a kind of public option for health insurance for low-income New Yorkers, through an insurance plan run by city hospitals and known as MetroPlus.
The NYC Care plan would improve that coverage, which already insures some 516,000 people, and aim to reach more of those who are eligible, such as the young and uninsured, and others who qualify but have not applied.
Mayor de Blasio first made the announcement on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday morning:
Health care is a right — not a privilege. Everyone needs a place to turn that isn't an emergency room. That's what NYC Care is all about. pic.twitter.com/FnGMutIP9j— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 8, 2019
He also took to Twitter to reiterate his position:
Health care isn’t just a right in theory, it must be a right in practice. Today I’m announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. 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.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 8, 2019
The confusing part is whether or not this will be considered "insurance." De Blasio called the program insurance in his MSNBC interview but his spokesman took to Twitter to clarify:
Correct. NYC already has a public option. This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers. https://t.co/HfDYmWX1dE— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) January 8, 2019
It's expected to take two years for NYC Care to be implemented.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering a similar plan, Fox News reported.