“Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it,” de Blasio said in a statement. “While the federal government works to gut health care for millions of Americans, New York City is leading the way by guaranteeing that every New Yorker has access to quality, comprehensive access to care, regardless of immigration status or their ability to pay.”
The liberal mayor said the plan will serve the 600,000 New Yorkers who don’t have insurance by strengthening NYC’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus.
It will also guarantee health care access to those ineligible for insurance, including illegal immigrants who live in New York. That program, NYC Care, will launch this summer and will cost at least $100 million annually at full scale, the city said.
In a tweet, de Blasio said the plan will “ensure the first stop for people isn’t the emergency room.” He argued that preventative care and access to primary care doctors will cut down on emergency room visits.
But it's unclear how the expanded program will be funded, Republicans swiftly objected to using taxpayer dollars to pay for health care for those in the country illegally.
“Our citizens have hard enough time covering their own healthcare costs,” Nicole Malliotakis, a member of the New York State Assembly who represents Brooklyn and Staten Island, tweeted. “Now, @nycmayor also wants them to pay for healthcare of 300,000 citizens of other countries. He must stop abusing the middle class and treating us like his personal ATM.”
De Blasio's announcement came after California's new Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a similarly ambitious health care agenda for his state, aimed at offering more benefits to illegal immigrants and protecting the embattled Affordable Care Act. Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program, now will let illegal immigrants remain on the rolls until they are 26, up from 19, according to Newsom's new agenda.
The de Blasio administration said Tuesday that all services will be “affordable on a sliding scale.”
The health care programs will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers “make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services,” the news release said.
Newsom pushes sweeping new California health-care plan to help illegal immigrants, prop up ObamaCare
Shortly after he took office on Monday, California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom unearthed an unprecedented new health care agenda for his state, aimed at offering dramatically more benefits to illegal immigrants and protecting the embattled Affordable Care Act, which a federal judge recently struck down as unconstitutional.
The sweeping proposal appeared destined to push California -- already one of the nation's most liberal states -- even further to the left, as progressive Democrats there won a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature in November and control all statewide offices.
"People's lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe — they all hang in the balance," Newsom, 51, told supporters Monday in a tent outside the state Capitol building, as he discussed his plans to address issues from homelessness to criminal justice and the environment. "The country is watching us, the world is watching us. The future depends on us, and we will seize this moment."
Newsom unveiled his new health-care plan hours after a protester interrupted his swearing-in ceremony to protest the murder of police Cpl. Ronil Singh shortly after Christmas Day.
The suspect in Singh's killing is an illegal immigrant with several prior arrests, and Republicans have charged that so-called "sanctuary state" policies, like the ones Newsom has championed, contributed to the murder by prohibiting state police from cooperating with federal immigration officials.
As one of his first orders of business, Newsom -- who also on Monday requested that the Trump administration cooperate in the state's efforts to convert to a single-payer system, even as he bashed the White House as corrupt and immoral -- declared his intent to reinstate the ObamaCare individual mandate at the state level.
The mandate forces individuals to purchase health care coverage or pay a fee that the Supreme Court described in 2012 as a "tax," rather than a "penalty" that would have run afoul of Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
Last month, though, a federal judge in Texas ruled the individual mandate no longer was a constitutional exercise of Congress' taxing power because Republicans had passed legislation eliminating the tax entirely -- a move, the judge said, that rendered the entire health-care law unworkable.
As that ruling works its way to what analysts say will be an inevitable Supreme Court showdown, Newsom said he would reimpose it in order to subsidize state health care.
Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program, now will let illegal immigrants remain on the rolls until they are 26, according to Newsom's new agenda. The previous age cutoff was 19, as The Sacramento Bee reported.
Additionally, Newsom announced he would sign an executive order dramatically expanding the state's Department of Health Care Services authority to negotiate drug prices, in the hopes of lowering prescription drug costs.
In his inaugural remarks, Newsom hinted that he intended to abandon the relative fiscal restraint that marked the most recent tenure of his predecessor, Jerry Brown, from 2011 to 2019. Brown sometimes rebuked progressive efforts to spend big on various social programs.
"For eight years, California has built a foundation of rock," Newsom said. "Our job now is not to rest on that foundation. It is to build our house upon it."
Newsom added that California will not have "one house for the rich and one for the poor, or one for the native-born and one for the rest."
"The country is watching us, the world is watching us." — California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom
In a statement, the California Immigrant Policy Center backed Newsom's agenda.
“Making sure healthcare is affordable and accessible for every Californian, including undocumented community members whom the federal government has unjustly shut out of care, is essential to reaching that vision for our future,” the organization said. “Today’s announcement is an historic step on the road toward health justice for all.”
The Sacramento Bee reported on several of Newsom's recent hires, which seemingly signaled he's serious about his push to bring universal health care to California. Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary worked in former President Bill Clinton's administration on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which offers affordable health care to children in families who exceed the financial threshold to qualify for Medicaid, but who are too poor to buy private insurance.
Obamacare ruled unconstitutional by Texas judge
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was struck down by a Texas judge on Friday, a move that could suddenly disrupt the health insurance status of millions of Americans. The decision comes amid a six-week open enrollment period for the program.
Texas, along with 19 states, had argued to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor that they had been hurt by a jump in the amount of people utilizing state-backed insurance.
When Congress cut the tax penalty from the program in 2017, the states claimed, it essentially undercut the Supreme Court’s reasoning for finding former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation constitutional in 2012.
“The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole,” O’Connor wrote in a 55-page opinion, according to Bloomberg. O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
"As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster," President Trump tweeted following the ruling. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!"
In a second tweet, the president declared the ruling to be "great news for America!"