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This article first appeared in Liberal America and Liberal Nation Rising.
We will probably have universal healthcare in this country within our lifetimes.
If you're a New York City resident, though, you needn't wait any longer.
Although not the single-payer model most Democrats in Washington favor, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's recent initiative guarantees every New Yorker the opportunity to receive medical treatment through the city's public hospitals system, regardless of income level.
The mayor announced last week:
"From this moment on in New York City, everyone is guaranteed the right to health care. We are saying the word guarantee because we can make it happen."
He said on MNBC's "Morning Joe":
"We recognized that obviously health care is not just in theory a right. We have to make it in practice a right, and we're doing something about that here in this city. Republicans in Washington are trying to tear down health care... We are doing just the opposite."
The inevitable question most then ask is, "How is he going to pay for it?"
Most New Yorkers will still receive their coverage through existing means--their employers, Medicare, Medicaid, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Borrowing from San Francisco's model, de Blasio seeks to bolster the city's social safety net through a program called "NYC Care," whereby any of the city's 600,000 uninsured residents will be charged on a sliding scale to see primary-care physicians in the hospital system's 70 clinics.
To facilitate this, the city is providing hospitals $100 million every year and beginning an outreach campaign to educate the population about MetroPlus, the city's Medicare-, Medicaid-, Obamacare-based health-insurance plan.
In addition, the city will provide call centers and online assistance for patients to schedule doctors' appointments.
About half of the 600,000 uninsured are undocumented residents; the rest are eligible but still remain uninsured, such as young people who may feel insurance is unnecessary.
About the plan, Katie Robbins, director of Campaign for New York Health, stated:
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