Transcript for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio explains his plan for free health care
A lot of Democrats are calling for comprehensive health care for every American, and mayor bill De Blasio just announced he's making it happen for all new yorkers, including undocumented citizens. He's here to tell us how he did it and what the white house can learn from it. Please welcome mayor bill De Blasio. Maas Welcome, welcome. Thank you for being here. You made quite a bit of news last week when you announced that New York City will now guarantee health care to anyone who needs it, including 300,000 undocumented immigrants at the cost of $100 million. But what do you say to people who say they don't want to pay for the undocumented? Let me tell you why first. Everyone should have a right to health care. Here's the idea, everyone should have a right to health care. It should be universal, and if it's universal, people would get the health care they need when they need it and not end up in an emergency room. The emergency room is the family doctor's office. And tax dollars pay for it. It's expensive and backward. If you have a guarantee of health care, no matter who you are, you get a primary care doctor assigned to you. You get maternity care, ob/gyn, pediatrics, mental health services, if you have access to it, you'll get health care when you need it. The problem in this country, it's hard to get the health care you need. It's too expensive. Do you think it's too expensive to get health care in this country? If we make it universal and straight forward, people get the care they need when they need it. We said two things. One, we have 600,000 people in this city who have no health care coverage at all. That's as big as the city of Milwaukee. They get sicker, sicker, sicker with no care. We said, one, if you're eligible for insurance but you haven't gotten it because you couldn't navigate the exchange because it was too expensive, because you were young and you thought you were invinvincible, we're going to make it easier and cheaper than ever, 24-hour number you can call, get the doctor you need right on the spot. That's the way the city will defend health insurance. If you're undocumented and that's several hundred thousand new yorkers who are neighbors who contribute to our economy, undocumented, if they get sick, everyone gets sick. If the whole community isn't healthy, then we all suffer. We're saying to them we're going to give you a health care card. When you need help, you get help. When your kids need help, you get help for them. I don't want someone who is part of the backbone of our economy and that's the blunt reality in this country, undocumented immigrants are part of our economy. I don't want them going to work sick, getting everyone else sick. I don't want their kids suffering. I want to make sure everyone is healthy. You understand people are saying I don't want my tax dollars paying for it. They're going for it anyway in the emergency rooms. Are you concerned about abuse? None of these programs are perfect. The homelessness is heartbreaking. If you have people flocking here, how do you pay for that? I don't think people will knock here. We're a city like a number of places in this country that try to do a lot to support people. We have not seen that influx. People go to the west coast and maces that are warm. This state's going up almost 50% since 2007. Here's the bottom line. People need health care and if we provide it, we think we end up with a better, stronger society and a healthier society and we save a lot of money in the end to joy's point. Right now we're hemorrhaing me. Do you think the V.A. Is run well and it's a great organization? Of course not. That's a government run -- Federal. By the way, veterans died waiting to get health care. It's horrible, unconscionable. We're closer to the ground and we're accountable to our own people and our public health system is working better and better. You know what, you sound-like a Republican a little pit because they believe in small government and you're saying do it on the local level. Joy, I know you mean that in the best way. I believe we should have a single payer system and medicare for all but until we do, we have to take care of our people and people are having trouble making ends meet. We need to help them get health care. So, I like all of that. That all sounds good. You know what's really pissing me off? What? I've never heard you pissed off before. No, you actually haven't. You've built 83 miles of protected bike lanes. And I like bikes. I like people who ride, but I don't think you understand the impact of taking something like 10th avenue which is six lanes down to two and a half, particularly when you have a winter storm and you can't move -- none of that is moveable so you can't get -- nothing flows. Also, I'm upset that you love these bikes but you don't tell people to put a helmet on. We tell children to put helmets on. I agree with -- This is an issue. And you know, you haven't taken down the size of the trucks so a giant truck that is bringing food to New York which is -- you foe, we got nine-block long trucks delivering and they can't make the turns. What feasibility study did y'all do when you decided to put these in because I know a lot of places -- I noticed they're not on Madison avenue and they're not on park avenue. They're all over, whoopi, respectfully. No, they're not. Actually, they're not on park and they're not on Madison. Not on every avenue for specific reasons. The audience is mutinying. They say no, it's not. Here's the bottom line. The number one reason we have done this is a specific strategy we call vision zero. It is to reduce the number of trafficfatalities. We had the fewest traffic fatality since 1910. There weren't any cars in 1910. That was tricky. It's not tricky. In 1910 there were more horses than cars in New York City. The old horse accident. Every year since then the traffic fatalities went up and up. We brought it down to the level of 1910 because these bike lanes slow traffic down. No, listen, you go through the city with a police escort. I come in every day -- I come in every day and I find that because you can't make a turn anywhere, you can't go straight anymore, when there's a storm people can't move anywhere because you got all these medians in the way and I'm just saying you might want to take a look at some of this because now you have Cuomo coming in talking about congestion and I kind of feel like it's a setup. And she does complain about it every day. Every day. Are you running in 2020? I'm mayor of New York City and that's where I'm focused. That's not an answer. Thanks to mayor bill De Blasio.
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