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The new program, NYC Care, will guarantee health care for the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who do not currently have health insurance, according to the mayor’s office. Undocumented immigrants will also be included in the plan.
“We recognized that obviously health care is not just in theory a right,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” ahead of the official announcement. “We have to make it in practice a right.”
The mayor said the plan would encompass primary and specialty care as well as maternity and pediatric care and mental health services.
Of the 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers, many are “young invincibles,” de Blasio noted, including young people who can afford insurance but choose not to get it. De Blasio said NYC Care would work on a “sliding scale” where “people will pay what they can” for care.
He added, “We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of our neighbors who happen to be undocumented. They’re still part of our community. They need health care; their families need health care.”
New York City has a public option for insurance already but NYC Care will pay “for direct comprehensive care” for people who can’t afford insurance or are not on Medicaid, de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillips said on Twitter.
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
The program comes with a hefty price tag for the city but de Blasio said he believes it will ultimately save New York money.
“If we don’t help people get their health care, we’re going pay plenty on the back end when people get really sick,” he said.
It will be available to New York residents through the NYC website or by calling 311.
Alexandra Svokos contributed to this report.