Maya Wiley’s Universal Health Coverage Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many of the inequities and challenges facing our city, none more so than the need for quality, affordable and accessible health care options for all New Yorkers. During the pandemic, hospitals and health centers were overwhelmed and understaffed and far too many New Yorkers were left with staggering medical bills due to lack of health insurance.

As we work our way out of this crisis, we must take steps to ensure access to health insurance for every single New York City resident, regardless of wealth, zip code, or status. While NYC has a rich network of public hospitals and community health centers, their services do not fully close the gap.  Despite the mental, physical, and social toll of being uninsured, cost is still a barrier and health insurance is beyond the reach of many families. 

Currently, at least 600,000 New Yorkers are without health insurance, 350,000 of whom have no pathway to affordable care. Many of these uninsured New Yorkers live in low-income areas and communities of color, where health care disparities are the most pronounced. At the height of the pandemic, nearly 88% of all deaths in the city were New Yorkers of color, a staggering and shocking statistic that emphasizes the need for change.

Maya Wiley recognizes the need for bold and comprehensive action to insure all New Yorkers, tackle health care costs, shore up care deserts in underserved communities and support the health and safety of New York City. Maya also believes that the Federal and State governments must make bold investments in ensuring universal access to healthcare. In the meantime, she will be prepared to take immediate action to provide access to the uninsured. 

To accomplish this, a Wiley Administration will:

  • Propose the Universal Health Coverage Plan, a City-sponsored plan to offer affordable health insurance.
  • Enable affordable coverage to all New Yorkers, including those who currently have no pathway to acquiring health insurance.
  • Pay for the plan by repurposing city spending, shoring up inefficiencies and other savings measures.
  • Ensure transparent and efficient administration of the plan through an affiliated nonprofit.

The Universal Health Coverage Plan will:

  • Offer affordable health insurance, regardless of income or immigration status, to meet the immediate needs of uninsured New Yorkers.
  • Enroll more people in a government-sponsored plan, moving us closer to realizing health care as a right.
  • Repurpose Federal, State, City, and private funding currently used to pay for the health costs of undocumented and uninsured New Yorkers.
  • Establish affordable, sliding-scale premiums to ensure access to all New Yorkers, regardless of income, so that no one ever pays more than 10% of their income on health insurance and insurance for folks making less than $25,000 per year pay nothing.

To ensure transparent and efficient administration of the plan, we will:

  • Assign management of the Universal Health Coverage Plan to an affiliated non-profit.
  • Ensure managers contract with proven insurers committed to providing affordable care.
  • Establish a governing board for the plan made up of subscribers to the insurance plan, health professionals, insurance advocates, union leaders and business organizations.
  • Separate administration of the plan from City officials to encourage greater participation from undocumented New Yorkers wary of participating in publicly-run programs.

Being uninsured is a health emergency. Maya Wiley supports universal health care and will continue to advocate for Federal and State action to achieve this goal. In the meantime, she will move aggressively as mayor to provide health insurance to all New Yorkers by creating the NYC Health Insurance Plan. As we emerge from this health crisis, we must prioritize health and safety for every New Yorker, starting with providing access to quality, affordable care.