NYC tries to coax illegal aliens from using emergency rooms for primary health care

NYC Health + Hospitals is an integrated health care system comprising the public safety net health care system for New York City, operating more than 70 locations across the city, including 11 hospitals, delivering its services without regard to income, immigration status, etc.

On January 8, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his administration would launch the largest, most comprehensive plan in the nation to guarantee health care for every New Yorker. Under the name NYC Care, the plan will guarantee low-cost and no-cost services offered by NYC Health + Hospitals to residents who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance, according to federal guidelines.

If fully implemented, the estimated 600,000 New York City residents currently without health insurance will be connected to a health care plan. The estimated 300,000 currently ineligible for health insurance, either because they can’t afford insurance or because they are “undocumented”, will be offered the NYC Care program.

There are no regular fees or premium payments. Patients pay for services and prescription medications as they are used, at discount rates determined by family size and income. In other words, NYC Care is not an insurance plan. There is no pooling of risk among members. In essence, the taxpayer base is the “insurance company”.

For the August 1 launching of NYC Care, Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs proudly declared … we are excited to help connect thousands of New Yorkers to the health care they need, regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of immigration status.

Not only is NYC Health + Hospitals subsidizing healthcare for illegal aliens, but they also affirm We do not record information regarding your immigration status. Seek care without fear. Interestingly, they will ask applicants to confirm that they've lived in NYC f or six months or more.

The progressives in NYC don't object in principle to requiring that an applicant “belongs”; it's just that the importance of “belonging” depends on which jurisdiction is the subject.

NYC Care was created to convince illegal aliens to stop using hospital emergency rooms

The thing is, the program is similar to the existing NYC Health and Hospitals system for treating the uninsured. Patients are seen regardless of their ability to pay, and an income-based sliding scale is used to determine how much they are charged.

At the January 8 announcement, Mayor Bill de Blasio divulged the true motivation for the program: Reducing the cost of illegal immigration in New York City. Mayor de Blasio explained that too much of the care provided by the existing system consists of expensive and inefficient emergency room visits. The emergency room truly should be the last resort, he added for emphasis.

With NYC Care, members will get to choose their own primary care provider, will get access to low-cost prescription medications, and will receive support from a primary care team including nurses, medical assistants, social workers, pharmacists, and nutritionists.

The cash crunch at New York City Health + Hospitals

Back in April 2016, as the city’s public hospital system was running out of money, Bill de Blasio was forced to allocate $160 million to NYC Health + Hospitals, formally the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, just to get them through the fiscal year. This was on top of the $331 million he added to the budget in January of that year. The cost of providing health services to illegal aliens, who are not covered by the Affordable Care Act, was acknowledged by de Blasio as an important factor in the developing storm: The federal government does not recognize the existence of undocumented people, and we end up paying.

Only a month earlier, the Council of the City of New York had projected an operating loss of $2.0 billion for NYC Health + Hospitals for fiscal year 2019, before assumed corrective actions would be taken. With those corrective actions, which include the introduction of NYC Care, the projection for a $2.0 billion operating loss has been pushed back to fiscal year 2023.

As the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation racks up massive losses, City Hall is compelled to offset the losses with new funds. Annual financial support equalled $1.1 billion in fiscal 2014 and is planned to rise to $2 billion by fiscal 2022.