New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city would be providing all residents with health care.
NYC Care, de Blasio’s new program, will provide coverage to the New Yorkers who are currently using the emergency room as their sole health care provider. According to NBC New York, this coverage would include any NYC resident who doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, including undocumented residents of the city.
Health care isn’t just a right in theory, it must be a right in practice. Today I’m announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we’ll ensure the first stop for people isn’t the emergency room.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 8, 2019
The city claims that this is not an insurance program; it already has a public option. Eric Phillips, de Blasio’s spokesman, claimed this program is for direct coverage.
Correct. NYC already has a public option. This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid – including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers. https://t.co/HfDYmWX1dE
— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) January 8, 2019
NBC New York reported that the city will pay for the direct coverage of around 600,000 people in total.
“The programs will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers — regardless of their insurance — make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services,” de Blasio’s office claimed in a release.
While some have expressed concerns about the decision to pay for the care of undocumented residents, many couldn’t move past the improbable math provided by the city in its explanation about how it will pay for the coverage.
Here are the facts de Blasio’s office provided in its NYC Care announcement:
- There will be no tax increases to pay for this plan.
- Approximately 600,000 New Yorkers will qualify for this direct coverage, including 300,000 undocumented residents.
- The entire program will only cost the city $100 million.
That means that those 600,000 New Yorkers’ medical care would cost an average of just $167 per person, a laughably low estimate at the cost of a medical care visit.
Several Twitter users caught this detail and called de Blasio’s team out for the questionable math. Some even claimed that this decision could plunge the city into “financial ruin.”
There are 600,000 uninsured in NYC. De Blaise claims the program will cost just $100 million additionally per year. That’s $160 per uninsured, so, um, LOL. https://t.co/7nqXCCt0Ns
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 8, 2019
Bill deBlasio just put NYC on the path to total financial ruinhttps://t.co/GT44xyT3a1
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 8, 2019
Meanwhile, NYC is over $100 billion in debt. But Comrade de Blasio doesn't care. https://t.co/awWML83zQG
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) January 8, 2019
It is important to note that the city admitted not everyone will receive fully “free” coverage. The total costs may just be subsidized by the city if the individual is deemed to be someone who can afford to contribute to the cost.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, de Blasio responded to critics by saying that the city will save so much money from people not choosing to go to the emergency room and that NYC Care will be sustainable without any tax increases or a massive increase to the debt burden.
NYC Care will not be fully implemented until 2021.