by WorldTribune Staff, January 14, 2019
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged health care for all New Yorkers, including illegal immigrants, and hinted that paying for it could come down to getting the money out of the hands of the “wrong people.”
De Blasio had reportedly said last week that “there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in the city. It’s just in the wrong hands.”
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Jan. 13, the mayor acknowledged that he made the comment and explained that “When I say there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands, it means to say we need policies that give back to working people. Like guaranteeing health care for all.”
“We should have single-payer, Medicare for all. No question,” de Blasio said. “But the bottom line is right now we have 600,000 people in my city who have no coverage at all. That’s unacceptable. That’s making us a city less healthy, less secure than we need to be.
“Our plan is guaranteed health care for all and says this should be a priority to ensure that we have a decent kind of society. If you don’t do that, what happens? People are sick at work. Their families get sick. They go to the emergency room, which is the single most costly way to provide health care. We know that by guaranteeing health care, we’re going to create the kind of society that works.”
During the 2018 midterm elections in November, Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who lost a close race to Gov. Ron DeSantis, had floated a similar proposal of single-payer health care for all, but said it would only work if other states joined the program as “otherwise, all sick people would just come to Florida.”
Tapper asked de Blasio: “What’s to stop sick people from flocking to New York and overburdening the system?”
De Blasio shrugged off the question, saying, “I don’t see that happening.”
The mayor also noted that there was a time the wealthy paid much higher taxes than they do today and that it had led to a more prosperous nation.
“It’s clear to me why it’s wrong because government policies gave the 1 percent every conceivable leg up,” de Blasio said. “This was not by accident. As I say, this was an agenda. Systematic. You go back decades, even to the time of Dwight Eisenhower. We had some of the highest tax rates on the wealthy this country ever saw. We had a prosperous country. We had that prosperity pretty well shared among different people, including working people in this country. We had investments in infrastructure. The kinds of things that grew the economy for everyone.”
De Blasio laid the blame on politicians, beginning with Republican President Ronald Reagan who, through tax policy and other policies, had implemented a “systematic agenda to take that money and put it more and more in the hands of the few.”