New York City Mayor New York City will spend $100 million to provide health care for undocumented immigrants and others who can not qualify for insurance, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday morning, seeking to insert a city policy into two contentious national debates.
Watch live: Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the health care plan in video above.
De Blasio's announcement came after California's new Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a similarly ambitious health care agenda for his state, aimed at offering more benefits to illegal immigrants and protecting the embattled Affordable Care Act. "We are going to guarantee health care for New Yorkers who need it".
The $100million plan would reach 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants, low-income residents who can't afford current insurance plans, and the "young invincibles" who don't think they need insurance.
"This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just E.R.s) for people who can't afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers", the mayor's spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter.
Notably, NYC Care does not mean universal health insurance. Once the program is fully operational, interested parties can either call 311 or visit nyc.gov, and staff will set them up with a primary care contact.
'Emergency rooms are the default health care provider for so many people in this country.
The program is called NYC Care.
He also said that no new taxes would be issued to pay for the plan, noting that "we're going to pay for" this "through our public health care system because we're making it a priority".
"Our citizens have hard enough time covering their own healthcare costs", Nicole Malliotakis, a member of the New York State Assembly who represents Brooklyn and Staten Island, tweeted. When you get people in front of a physician in a timely manner, when you avoid hospitalizations and intensive treatments, you cut out a staggering expense: Those savings are projected to help cover NYC Care.
De Blasio said it will be paid for through the public health care system and he believes it will ultimately save money by preventing trips to the emergency room. "And we're doing that here in this city", he told host Willie Geist. "The message will be go get the health care you need when you need it".
NYC Care, which will be launched in the Bronx borough in the summer of 2019, will expand across the entire city by 2021 and cost at least $100 million annually, according to a statement from the mayor's office. It's going to save us money down the line'. The emergency room is the worst way to get health care, it's the most expensive way to get health care, ' he said.
Residents will be able to access the program via the city's website or calling the city of NY at 311.