New York City Edges Toward Universal Healthcare


New York City is financing a new $100 million initiative to guarantee healthcare for its 600,000 uninsured residents.

“This has never been done before in this country in this kind of comprehensive way — it’s going to be for the first time a guarantee of healthcare,” de Blasio said Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We’re going to guarantee healthcare for New Yorkers who need it.”

According to a statement released by the Mayors office this morning, New York City will expand NYC’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus, and guarantee anyone ineligible for insurance – including undocumented New Yorkers – has direct access to NYC Health + Hospitals’ physicians, pharmacies and mental health and substance abuse services through a new program called NYC Care.

NYC Care is open to anyone who does not have an affordable insurance option and will be priced on a sliding scale, to ensure affordability. NYC Care will provide a primary care doctor and will provide access to specialty care, prescription drugs, mental health services, hospitalization, and more.

MetroPlus already offers lower cost insurance plans to New Yorkers that are eligible for low-income insurance plans. Few details have been released on what the expansion would look like, but the broad idea is to make MetroPlus available to more individuals, including those who can’t afford private insurance on the exchanges. New Yorkers will be able to call MetroPlus or 311 to be screened for health insurance eligibility and get connected to their best coverage option.

NYC Health + Hospitals will also move to a 24/7 customer service model to support additional demand for services.

NYC Care will launch in summer 2019 and will roll out geographically, starting in the Bronx. It will be fully available to all New Yorkers across the five boroughs in 2021. The program will cost at least $100 million annually at full scale. Additionally, MetroPlus will announce a series of enhancements throughout the year.