Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan that would guarantee healthcare for 600,000 low-income New Yorkers, with Bronx residents expected to get priority.
The announcement came the day after de Blasio announced a plan to spend $100 million a year on expanding health coverage for low-income New Yorkers and seemed meant to polish his credentials as a progressive leader. Extending the program to an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants puts the Democrat at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made border security a top priority for his presidency.
De Blasio said the plan will offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale that is based on income.
The Legal Aid Society has also joined in the fight against De Blasio's bid to make harsher bail restrictions. "NYC Care will provide a primary care doctor and will provide access to specialty care, prescription drugs, mental health services, hospitalization, and more", the press release noted. "We as a country must get there, and New York City will lead the way".
The new program, called NYC Care, will be available to everyone in Manhattan and its five boroughs, regardless of existing medical conditions, ability to pay or immigration status, de Blassio says.
Wait times to see a primary care doctor would be in line with the one to two weeks it now takes, officials said. "We recognize that obviously health care isn't just, in theory, a right; it's in practice a right". But he said he hoped the city's move would mobilize broader health care changes. "Reforming our system also requires an emphasis on promoting preventative medicine, as well as reducing unnecessary visits to emergency rooms; these must be focus points for MetroPlus and the NYC Care program going forward".
"Paid time off is crucial, especially for the lowest wage workers who are least likely to have it", said Dahlia McManus, deputy director of the New York Working Families Party. "From this moment on, in New York City, everyone is guaranteed the right to health care".
"You know the national reality, the Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down healthcare, trying to tear down the universality of health care coverage, get rid of Obamacare".
"No state has more at stake on the issue of health care". Undocumented immigrants will also be included in the plan.