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New York City launches $100 mln universal health insurance program

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Cherelus

NEW YORK (Reuters) - has launched a $100 million to cover 600,000 uninsured residents, including those unable to afford coverage and those living in the illegally, said on Tuesday.

De Blasio, now in his second term as of the country's most populous city, has long supported Extending the program to an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants puts the Democrat at odds with U.S. Donald Trump, who has made border security a top priority for his presidency.

"No one should have to live in fear. No one should go without the health care they need. Health care is a human right. In this city, we're gonna make that a reality," de Blasio said during a conference. "From this moment on in New York City, everyone is guaranteed the right to health care."

has become a highly partisan issue in the Trump's has pushed to repeal the 2010 Obamacare program, which expanded health care to most uninsured Americans, while the liberal wing of the has called for a federally funded, single-payer system, inspired by programs in and many European countries.

The NYC Care plan, which de Blasio said would be funded without tax increases, is an expansion of the city's existing MetroPlus plan that covers hospital bills for low-income residents. The new plan provides insurance for visits to doctors outside of hospitals. Health experts say that access to regular medical visits can cut down on costly hospital stays.

NYC Care, which will be launched in the borough in the summer of 2019, will expand across the entire city by 2021 and cost at least $100 million annually, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

The said all services would be affordable on a sliding scale for those who are able to pay a portion of the costs, while those who cannot afford to pay will receive care for free.

Unlike the MetroPlus plan, NYC Care is a program that leverages the city's hospital system. It provides no health coverage for residents traveling outside of the city, officials said at the conference.

(Reporting by Cherelus; Editing by and Bernadette Baum)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 10:31 IST