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Universal Health Care For New Yorkers? Not Exactly

Emmarie Huetteman

On Wednesday, 10 Democratic presidential candidates had been requested to boost their palms if they’d abolish non-public medical insurance in favor of a government-run choice. Just two stated they’d: Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City.

But de Blasio additionally instructed viewers to not take his phrase for it. He has already given New York City residents “universal health care,” he stated.

Already packing on your transfer to the Big Apple? First, let’s check out the details.

De Blasio highlighted this declare on the finish of the primary Democratic presidential debate, as he argued voters ought to look previous the speaking factors of his two dozen or so Democratic opponents and contemplate what he has completed throughout his greater than 5 years as mayor.

“It matters that we nominate a candidate who saw the destruction wrought by a broken health care system and gave people universal health care,” de Blasio stated.

He additionally cited New York City’s $15 minimal wage and common prekindergarten program.

“These things really matter,” he stated. “And these are the things that I’ve done in New York, and I want to do the same for this whole country, because putting working people first, it matters.”

There Are Plans — And Skeptics

Support for common well being care has emerged as an early take a look at for a lot of zealous major voters of how authentically progressive a Democratic candidate is. So, how does de Blasio measure up? Did he actually give folks “universal health care”?

We requested the de Blasio marketing campaign, and a spokeswoman pointed to the mayor’s “Guaranteed Care” dedication to make sure each New Yorker has well being care, a plan he unveiled in January.

De Blasio stated on the time that the two-part plan, estimated to value $100 million, would bolster the town’s public medical insurance choice, referred to as MetroPlus — together with efforts to enroll extra individuals who qualify however aren’t but insured. It additionally “guarantees” entry to the town’s system of public hospitals and clinics for individuals who are ineligible for insurance coverage.

The phrase “ineligible” refers particularly to those that can not afford insurance coverage or can not enroll as a result of they’re undocumented immigrants. The mayor’s workplace estimated in May that there are 300,000 New Yorkers who match the invoice.

A brand new program on the coronary heart of the plan, known as NYC Care, goals to assist the ineligible. Those who’re uninsured — and have lived in New York City for at the very least six months — can be linked with a major care physician; entry to a wide range of specialty care, together with psychological well being and substance abuse companies; inexpensive pharmaceuticals; and a 24/7 customer support quantity, which they’ll name to make appointments. Services can be charged on a sliding scale.

But NYC Care just isn’t an insurance coverage plan. And as of Thursday, the town’s public well being system — NYC Health + Hospitals — advises visitors to its website that “beginning summer 2019, there will be various ways you can sign up.”

De Blasio’s declare was “very misleading,” stated Bill Hammond, the well being coverage director on the Empire Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan, New York-focused suppose tank. Voters may suppose he’s referring to common insurance coverage or perhaps a single-payer system, he stated, neither of which is true.

What de Blasio is giving New Yorkers are new methods to entry current companies, Hammond stated. And whereas it could be an excellent factor, he stated, it appears extra like “reconfiguring.”

Not solely has New York City had MetroPlus and a mammoth system of public hospitals and different medical amenities for years, nevertheless it additionally has lengthy been a mission of NYC Health + Hospitals to deal with those that can not afford care, together with undocumented immigrants, he stated.

“He’s making it sound like he passed ‘Medicare for All’ in New York City,” Hammond stated. “And he didn’t even come close.”

Further complicating de Blasio’s declare is his use of past-tense — that he “gave” New Yorkers common well being care.

The plan is anticipated to be rolled out over time, starting with the Bronx and encompassing all 5 boroughs by the end of 2020. (It was originally slated to be “fully available” in 2021, however by the point de Blasio introduced his presidential run in mid-May, that date had been moved up.)

NYC Care is anticipated to launch within the Bronx on Aug. 1.

Our Ruling

De Blasio stated he gave New Yorkers common well being care.

According to the World Health Organization, “universal health coverage” means anybody can use the well being companies they want, of a ok high quality to be efficient, with out being uncovered to monetary hardship.

To be certain, de Blasio unveiled a plan in January that features a new program that goals to offer anybody (who has lived in New York City for at the very least six months) entry to New York’s famend public well being system at a worth tailor-made to their monetary state of affairs.

But for essentially the most half, de Blasio didn’t create a brand new system a lot as be sure New Yorkers can use the one they’ve — and it stays to be seen how nicely his strategies will work.

For these causes, we price this declare as Mostly False.

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