New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will guarantee healthcare for all the city's 600,000 uninsured people, including undocumented immigrants.
De Blasio said the city will do so through MetroPlus, the health insurance arm of the municipal health system, allowing people to buy into the plan as the "NYC public option." For people who can't afford to buy into that public option or who are ineligible for insurance, the NYC Care program will provide cards to receive medical care at the public health system for free.
It is unclear how that coverage will differ from the products sold by MetroPlus on the state's health insurance exchange or the Medicaid plans it offers.
"From this moment on in New York City, everyone is guaranteed the right to healthcare," De Blasio said Tuesday at a press conference at NYC Health and Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx.
The city estimated the plan will cost at least $100 million annually when it is fully implemented. It's unclear how many people the city expects will use the program, but this would amount to less than $200 a year for coverage of those 600,000, while coverage costs thousands for the commercially-insured population. It will start this summer in the Bronx and be rolled out to all five boroughs by 2021.
People in the NYC Care program, as it is called, will give people access to the physicians and hospitals of NYC Health and Hospitals. Those medical providers already treat a significant portion of the city's undocumented and uninsured population and receive government funding to help offset the cost of that care when people are unable to pay.