Many Dominicans to benefit from NYC health care plan

City Mayor Bill De Blasio / NYC Government

New York City is about to get the biggest and most comprehensive health coverage program in the United States. Given that New York City is home to the second largest population of Dominicans in the world (second only to Santo Domingo), hundreds of thousands of Dominicans are likely to benefit from the program that was announced on 8 January 2019 by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

The city will be paying for comprehensive health care coverage for those who can’t afford it or are undocumented, a spokesman for the city government announced. The plan is to guarantee health care to every single resident regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.

The De Blasio government says that the US$100 million plan will roll out this year and New Yorkers will be able to access the program via the city’s website or by calling 311 to make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services.

This is an unprecedented plan to protect roughly 600,000 of New Yorkers who are currently uninsured and use the emergency room of city hospitals as primary providers, Bill de Blasio has said.

De Blasio has explained that the new program “is not health insurance.” “We’ll put the money in to make it work; it’s going to save us money down the line,” he said speaking on MSNBC. “We’re already paying an exorbitant amount to pay for health care the wrong way when what we should be doing is helping them get the primary care.”

“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,” spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted for the city mayor’s office.

According to Mayor De Blasio’s office, those who seek health coverage through the program to be known as NYC Care will receive a card that will allow them to see a primary care doctor but also seek specialty care services. Those who can afford to pay will pay for services on a sliding scale, while those who cannot afford to pay will then receive free coverage. The mayor said that there will be no tax hikes to fund the program.

NYC Care is expected to begin in the Bronx this summer 2019 and to be eventually available for the other four boroughs in 2021, according to the De Blasio Mayor office.

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10 January 2019

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