New York City to offer health care to all residents, mayor says | News Coverage from USA

New York City to offer health care to all residents, mayor says

ALBANY – New York City plans to install the first comprehensive health care system in the nation, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

The Democratic mayor said the new program NYC Care will pay for the health care insurance costs for 600,000 city residents who do not have coverage, making it the largest city in the nation to guarantee coverage for patients. 

“We recognized that health care is not just in theory a right. It’s in practice a right,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down health care. We are doing just the opposite.”

The proposal, he said, would cost about $100 million a year and expand upon the city’s public option plan, as well as the state’s robust health care exchange that enrolls about 4.6 million New Yorkers through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Some state lawmakers are pushing the entire state to adopt comprehensive health care, saying that although it would cost the state billions of dollars, it would be the most cost-effective way to ensure health coverage for residents.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some Democrats in the majority have been skeptical of the proposal, saying the cost could double the state’s roughly $170 billion budget and require new taxes.

De Blasio said the city doesn’t plan to raise taxes on residents because the cost and the program itself would be phased in over several years.

He said the city’s uninsured are mainly young people who don’t think they need insurance, those who can’t afford it or undocumented immigrants who cannot access health insurance.

When uninsured New Yorkers get sick, “they are going to the emergency room. It’s the worst way to get health care. It’s the most expensive way to get health care,” de Blasio said.

More: Enrollment starts for customers on New York’s health exchange

More: Enhanced STAR for seniors: There is a big change to know this year

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