A new $100-million health insurance program will cover 600,000 uninsured people living in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
This new program, which was announced at a news conference at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, will be made available to residents that cannot to afford coverage — including an estimated 300,000 residents who are undocumented immigrants, according to CBC.
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“I refuse the notion that these folks don’t deserve health care,” the mayor said. “It is not only the morally right choice, but it will save taxpayers in the end.”
The program, called NYC Care, will provide residents with an insurance card and assign them to a doctor, which will give them access to primary care and various health care services. The fees for the services will be determined based on income, the Washington Post reported.
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 new plan is an extension of New York’s current MetroPlus program, which offers health insurance at low or no cost to low-income residents in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The idea is that providing upfront medical care like this could limit emergency hospital visits, which is much more cost efficient, overall.
This is an important step in line with universal health coverage, the concept explained by the World Health Organization as the ability for all people to access the vital health services they need, without experiencing financial hardship.
De Blasio’s announcement arrives at a time when health care is a touchy subject in the US, as the Trump administration works to abolish Obamacare and Democrats look at ways to implement a federally funded single-payer health care system, accessible to all, according to CBC.
Sliding scale fees for health care could result in affordable coverage for all, and it would also mean access to free services for low-income residents who truly cannot afford them.