John Bacon, USA TODAY, January 9, 2019
The comprehensive health care plan ceremoniously unveiled by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week drew lots of applause from the Democrat’s supporters but also skepticism from those in the city who question the value and cost of the effort.
De Blasio said NYC Care, starting in the Bronx and phased in across the city’s five boroughs, will provide primary and specialty care from pediatric to geriatric to 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers. De Blasio estimated the annual cost at $100 million.
“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,” Eric Phillips, spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, boasted on Twitter.
State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican representing parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, criticized the proposal as an example of de Blasio using city coffers “like his personal ATM.”
“How about instead of giving free health care to 300,000 citizens of other countries, you lower property taxes for our senior citizens who are being forced to sell the homes they’ve lived in for decades because they can’t afford to pay your 44 percent increase in property taxes?” she said.
The mayor’s plan has plenty of support. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, said the plan will help his agency “give all New Yorkers the quality care they deserve.” State Sen. James Sanders Jr., who represents parts of Queens, said he looks forward “to seeing the Care NYC program grow and prosper as it helps to create a healthier New York.”