NYC Announces Free Health Care For All – Even ILLEGAL Immigrants

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New York City will spend up to $100 million per year to expand health care coverage to people without health insurance, including immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

The plan involves expanding the city’s existing public insurance program and providing uninsured people with access to affordable care at city-owned facilities.

“From this moment on in New York City everyone is guaranteed the right to health care,” the Democratic mayor said. “We are saying the word guarantee because we can make it happen.”

The program is intended to reach an estimated 600,000 city residents currently without health insurance.

Half of that group can’t get health insurance because of their immigration status, de Blasio said, while the remainder includes young people who don’t think they need coverage and people who find the Affordable Care Act exchanges unaffordable or difficult to navigate.

The plan will build on the city’s existing public-option health insurance program called MetroPlus, which currently insures more than 500,000 low-income New Yorkers.

It will also aim to provide the uninsured with a range of services, including primary-care physicians, mental health services and prescription drugs, through the network of hospitals and clinics run by the city Health and Hospitals Corporation.

The city’s public hospitals already care for low-income New Yorkers, including those without legal immigration status, but too much of that care consists of expensive and inefficient emergency room visits, de Blasio said.

“We want to flip the script,” de Blasio said. “The emergency room truly should be the last resort.”

Dr. Mitchell Katz, the CEO of the public hospital system, said the city will hire additional primary-care doctors to meet an expected growth in demand.

The city’s plan is similar to programs that have been established elsewhere like the Healthy San Francisco initiative but is broader, said Katz, who has previously led health agencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Here psychotherapy is a covered benefit, which was not the case in San Francisco,” he said.

De Blasio said the program will take two years to implement and will be “the most comprehensive health care system in the nation.” Patients will be charged on a sliding scale, with the poorest New Yorkers paying nothing.

The mayor unveiled the program at a news conference at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx after first announcing in on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We’re going to make sure it’s seamless because that way people actually are encouraged to get the health care they need and never get to the point where they end up in the emergency room,” he said on “Morning Joe.”

He told the news conference that he would love to see a single-payer health care system enacted by Congress or by New York state lawmakers, but “our people need health care right now.”

De Blasio’s announcement came the day after Gavin Newsom, the newly inaugurated Democratic governor of California, proposed state-funded health care coverage for 138,000 young people living in the country illegally and reinstating a mandate for everyone to buy insurance or pay a fine.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state proposed a statewide public health insurance option available to anyone who is not covered by an employer.

The prospects for a statewide universal health care proposal in New York improved last fall when Democrats took control of the entire Legislature by winning a Senate majority. But while many liberal members of the Senate and Assembly say they favor an expansion of state-run health care, finding the money to pay for such a program would be challenging. The 2019 legislative season kicks off Wednesday.

Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who ran unsuccessfully against de Blasio in the 2017 mayor’s race, criticized the expanded health care plan.

“Our citizens have a hard enough time covering their own healthcare costs and now Mayor de Blasio also wants them to pay for the healthcare of 300,000 citizens of other countries,” Malliotakis said in a statement. “The mayor must stop abusing the middle class and treating us like his personal ATM.”

(AP)

24 COMMENTS

  1. I think the US is basically the only developed country without some kind of universal healthcare. Hopefully a successful program in NYC can convince the rest of the country to adopt. Israel has such a system and it’s overall wonderful.

  2. Bright neon sign seen this morning at Tante Vilda Chaya’s Old Style Cafe :

    NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PICKPOCKETS. PLEASE PAY CASHIER IMMEDIATELY AFTER ORDERING.

  3. @M
    If the socalized healthcare in Israel is so great why can’t I go daven at a single ship in Flatbush without there being someone collecting for their family back in Israel, 99.9% of the time due to healthcare related expenses?

    What about Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans. 2 babies in the UK that where murded by their governments socialized healthcare system?

  4. A fantastic program whose time is way overdue. Universal healthcare was first proposed by Republican president Nixon decades ago. This saves taxpayer money 1) people won’t need to use the ER as a primary care Dr which is most expensive, 2) if people can avail themselves of healthcare as a preventive, that also saves money.
    Healthcare is unaffordable for many middle-class families. Considering trump never presented his “great more affordable healthcare for all”, someone has to step up.

  5. If Israel’s healthcare is so great please explain all the meshulachim coming to my shul from EY every morning collecting to help pay for their relative’s medical care.
    And if you think universal healthcare is so wonderful pleas explai to me why my neighbor’s 70 year old father (lives in Canada ) had to wait two months for a double bypass.

  6. Ask a Canadian what his effective income tax rate is and you discover how much “free” universal healthcare costs

    Ask an Israeli with only kupat cholim how long the wait is for an MRI, or an elective procedure ( i.e. knee replacement). Months. Similarly, Canada also rations care to try some degree of cost control. Many hospitals in NY and other border states offer all inclusive cash packages to Canadiens who don’t want to wait months for a hernia surgery or arthroscopic knee or shoulder surgery.

  7. Liberal Policies SOUND so nice, until you realize the facts: YOU should pay 40% Taxes on your income, AND you Pay over $20,000 a year for a Health Insurance Plan, PLUS you Pay Deductables, PLUS you Pay co-pays AND wait to see a Doctor, But Blasio is Letting Illegals And Lots Of Drug Addicts And bums get FREE Healthcare and create Huge Lines For Doctors?! Liberals love the word FAIR, how Is That FAIR That You who WORK HARD Have to Pay And Many who just waltz into NYC DONT have to Pay?!

  8. To those asking about regular meshulachim collecting because of health-related expenses. The short answer is that they tell you that because nice people like you willingly give them money when they do — the story works. In the US, medical expenses are the #1 cause of bankruptcy; in Israel that *never* happens. Not as in only 10% or 1%, or almost never, but *never*. The system basically covers everything.

    Of course, if the doctors here say, look, there’s nothing we can do to help you, but there’s a doctor in Cleveland that will give you a 2% of success, well, you can’t expect the system to cover that too (of course they won’t in America), and I guess it’s possible that a given family will decide to collect the $300,000 or whatever for the 2% chance. And in some sense I guess the family is then bankrupt. But those aren’t the similar cases.

    And of course if the father is sick with cancer, and the mother can’t work because she’s taking care of the children, then even the few thousands of shekels per month that the govt gives through Bituach Leumi probably won’t be enough to live on. So I guess you can call that bankrupt, but it’s not really because of medical expenses. It’s because the family is poor to begin with.

  9. I foolishly watched the whole De Blasio Health care press conference and all I got was a headache…

    Here’s the gist of it:

    1. Metro Plus, Obamacare etc. for those eligible, with perhaps a more streamlined system to get approved.

    2. NY Health & Hospital clinics offering everyone a PCP, charging on a sliding scale per visit for those without insurance, including illegal immigrants. Focusing on all around care and prevention, including specialists vs. emergency care.

    3. A 24 hour 800 number for customer service. They will offer help finding a PCP, specialist, pharmacy, urgent care, with appointments etc. so you don’t have to run around figuring out what’s open, available etc.

    4. Mental health and dental (benefits not yet worked out) will be covered.

    There’s still much to be worked out, and supposedly will take about two years to implement fully. (Was this announcement premature and a race with California?)

    The goal is to reduce emergency room visits to cover some of the costs (and unsaid: for the city economy to keep on expanding so they can continue pumping money into it).

    My impression was that this is mainly targeted towards minorities, although the “poster girl” with a story was a white woman.

    Unless the Heimishe communities get funding for their own clinics, it’s not going to be as culturally sensitive to our needs. Which means we likely won’t benefit much. But he was stressing the culural sensitivity part, so we’ll see how he follows through.

    In my community the local Jewish owned clinic already charges on a sliding scale for those without coverage, but if you’re paying most of your income towards rent, I don’t think it’s factored in.

    So overall I don’t see what the hype is all about, but time will tell.

  10. He’s proving to be almost as intellectually challenged as Ocasio. Just make programs, and assume the tooth fairy will shovel the funds to subsidize it all. Sorry, but the stuffed toy that represents my inner child functions at a significantly higher intellectual capacity.

    Ever hear of fantasy? The goal is to not confuse that with reality.

  11. It’s one thing to make tax payers cover the costs of their legal neighbors (although I’m sure that stealing from one to give to another (unless they really can’t work or are really poor) but to cover people that came here illegally with our hard earned money? Mayor DeBlasio you have no shame, not to care about the legal hard working New Yorkers that are trying tovtake care of their families? Soon you’ll say to cover the costs we need to raise taxes. What a low life.

  12. There is no thing as free health insurance.In Israel, you wait and wait, you must pay a little but many cases end up in America. In England it is even worst. They give you old medicines to save money [not out of date but newer and better
    medication]. I know too many cases for the need of 2 or 3 medicines were delayed healing for only proscribing one. A friend with a heart condition pays for their medicine because her Dr. does not prescribe has been medicines. Now deblowsin want to take good health care to legal to serve the illegals.Deblows go to hell the quicker the better

  13. How do you become an “undocumented” resident???

    Huju – sadly, there is only option A. Hang out in any neighborhood or live in a border community and your only option is option A. Hygene, just like recycling and caring about the environment is not widespread everywhere.

  14. @RT:
    Very rear that we agree, but now is one of those times.

    Anybody earning a decent salary and wants a decent policy must pay a large portion of their salary to get coverage.

    I hope the new system will make it easier for middle class hard working people to have good coverage.

  15. GPG: as far as I heard, they’re only worried about the uninsured. And make it sound like getting coverage is the end-game. So if one is paying through their nose for coverage and is struggling financially, all is well as far as de Blasio is concerned. (Not quite, what he REALLY wants is a SINGLE PAYER system operated by the FEDS or NY STATE.)

    There are approximately 600,000 uninsured in NYC, half of which are illegal immigrants. The illegals and those that can’t afford/don’t qualify/don’t want CURRENT PLANS (including an improved MetroPlus Plan they’re also promising) will get a “fake policy” which gets them a PCP, and doctors’ (including specialists and mental health professionals) visits at NYC Health + Hospitals’ facilities, which they pay for on a sliding scale BASED ON THEIR INCOME. (Even illegal income will be counted, assuming it’ll be correctly reported/assessed.)

    And the program is starting in the Bronx, the other boros need to wait up to 2 years (and likely more if the plans don’t pan out).

    So it’s one giant bureaucracy in the making, great for those that had no health care till now, but I don’t see it working for most of our Heimishe expert health consumers. (And that’s a compliment, even if it means we’re snobbish when it comes to health care.)