Turning around this city starts with taming COVID. We need an all-in effort that restores public confidence as it protects public health. But that same effort should also finally address gaps in healthcare coverage and access in our city. To do that, I will:
- Strengthen our safety net hospitals as well as our Health and Hospitals system.
- Increase healthcare coverage through MetroPlus, ChildHealth Plus and for our City workers.
- Significantly expand COVID testing and resources across the city.
Provide healthcare to every New Yorker who needs it.
This is the worst possible time for New Yorkers to be without healthcare. We must sign up every single person we can for MetroPlus or ChildPlus through NYC Cares. To better cover New Yorkers, we must significantly boost funding for NYC Cares, MetroPlus and ChildPlus and use census outreach infrastructure to expand our contacts with immigrant populations and engage on affordable options with a more robust outreach program.
Ensure City workers do not have to pay more for healthcare.
New York City doesn’t work without our dedicated City workers. And those workers — most of whom are people of color — often live in the areas hit the hardest by the pandemic. We absolutely cannot balance this budget on their backs and leave them exposed to COVID by reducing their access to quality healthcare. To keep our City workers healthy, we must restore temporarily deferred funding to health funds, fully fund healthcare trust funds that are depleted and reject increases to healthcare premiums for workers.
Protect safety net hospitals.
Millions of New Yorkers rely on Health + Hospitals and our safety net hospitals for care–and that system has been at risk of financial disaster long before the pandemic. We also cannot permanently rely on the federal government to bail us out. We need structural support that keeps our safety net strong. Federal funds to fight the virus have kept them afloat for now—but the State must adjust funding to shore them up long-term.
And the City must also do more. We will work with private hospitals to collectively negotiate our agreements with insurance companies for better deals, create an emergency citywide hospital network with private hospitals to distribute indigent patients, co-locate other services, such as affordable housing access, at hospitals and prioritize federal funds for Health + Hospitals programs and locations more equitably. The hospitals will pool those savings and use their greater buying power to lower costs for safety net hospitals that need financial help.
Form a unified citywide hospitals network.
COVID-19 showed us how lack of coordination between our health providers creates inefficiencies and inequities that cost lives. When the system is set up to equitably distribute poorer, uninsured patients, outcomes will improve. We will form a unified citywide hospitals network that coordinates care for indigent patients and shares data for more efficient use of the city’s collective healthcare resources in a crisis across both private and public hospitals.
Significantly increase COVID-19 testing, education and treatment.
During the pandemic, the City relied far too much on private health companies and hospitals to conduct COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. And we have failed to adequately address the lack of information and spread of misinformation in hard-hit lower-income communities — especially those that do not speak English — through credible messengers who can help prevent the spread through education and resources.
We must step up efforts to get those same communities vaccinated as quickly as possible by using an army of messengers to work with local organizations. And let’s put COVID-tasked health workers directly on the ground in dedicated spaces in lower-income areas, including NYCHA, storefronts and pharmacies for an expanded footprint.