"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". There are approximately 600,000 New Yorkers without health care coverage.
"When this plan is fully implemented, every New Yorker who needs a doctor will have an actual doctor with a name and a place, they're going to have a card that will empower them to go to that doctor whenever they need", de Blasio said during Tuesday's press conference.
Residents will be able to access the program via the city's website or calling the city of NY at 311.
The plan isn't an individual insurance plan or a single-payer health program such as the Medicare for All plan touted by progressives.
"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.
The city will spend $100 million on the program, The New York Times reported. It is expected to launch in the Bronx first this summer, and be available in the other boroughs by 2021.
"We are saying the word guarantee because we can make it happen", the mayor added, emphasizing that the program would be unprecedented in the United States.
"Health care is a human right".
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. New York City already has a public health care option. We want people to have primary care, specialty care.
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. "That's the ideal, that what we need", de Blasio said.
'To me that is the moral choice and a smart economic choice because we're not doing the insane thing which is making the emergency room the first place people turn to'.
The mayor's office was quick to say that its plan, to be called NYC Care, would not be a substitute for any universal health care at the state level or a national single-payer plan.
'If folks get primary care or mental health services when they need them at the right point in life, that means you avoid everything from homelessness, incarceration, people losing their jobs'. "In the last couple of years there's been tremendous focus, tremendous energy, pinpoint precision in Washington among Republicans trying to reduce the amount of health care people get".