Maya Wiley Unveils Universal Health Coverage Plan to Expand Coverage to all New Yorkers

Wiley’s proposal will offer affordable health care to 350,000 New Yorkers — including the undocumented — and move the city towards universal coverage.


New York — Today, New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley unveiled a sweeping new health care initiative, the Universal Health Coverage Plan, that would expand coverage city-wide and enable affordable health coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured New Yorkers, including the undocumented. Wiley unveiled her plan alongside healthcare workers from 1199 SEIU and the New York State Nurses Association outside the Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.

Wiley unveiled her plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on Black and brown communities, lower-income New Yorkers and the uninsured. At least 600,000 New Yorkers are currently without health insurance, 350,000 of whom have no pathway to affordable care. 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 Wiley said emphasizes the need for change.

Her plan would repurpose city funding, shore up administrative inefficiencies and streamline public health systems to create the Universal Health Coverage Plan, and management of the plan would be assigned to an affiliated nonprofit dedicated to providing quality care options to New Yorkers. The ambitious plan would transform health coverage in New York City and extend care to hundreds of thousands of residents, including undocumented residents who’d previously been hesitant to sign up for public health programs.

“If we learned anything from COVID, it’s that we must ensure quality, equitable and affordable healthcare options for all New Yorkers. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are without the access to the care they deserve, many of whom live in low-income areas and communities of color. This ends when I am mayor,” said Maya Wiley. “My plan is a bold and transformative initiative 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. Health care is a human right and I am going to fight with everything I have to make it a reality for every single New Yorker.”

“Every day 1199 members provide care to those who are arriving very sick at emergency rooms because they did not have access to preventive care,” said Patrick Forde, Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU. “We know the terrible human cost of leaving so many New Yorkers to fend for themselves, and that’s why we support Maya Wiley’s plan for city-sponsored health coverage that truly reaches all New Yorkers.”

“Immigrant communities have long faced barriers accessing adequate healthcare due to not being eligible for health insurance. The pandemic has exacerbated these inequities and revealed the devastating consequences of a healthcare structure that does not adequately provide access to essential care and coverage for everyone,” said Arline Cruz from Make the Road Action. “It is important that the next Mayor of New York City create solutions to extend and facilitate access to culturally competent, quality care and coverage for everyone, regardless of immigration status.”

“It is Maya Wiley’s vision and clarity on the issues that are most pressing for New Yorkers that make us so proud to be on Team Maya,” said Cheryl Watts of Community Voices Heard Power. “Access and receipt of quality culturally competent healthcare is essential, other candidates have tinkered around the edges of change, Maya understands that for this city’s greatness to be fully realized, all New Yorkers must have healthcare.”

“Too many New Yorkers either choose or are forced to go uninsured because of the costs of good healthcare. For independent workers, this is a long-time reality as they are not covered by employer based healthcare. Maya’s bold vision will ensure no individual falls through the cracks,” said Rafael Espinal, President of the Freelancers Union. “These are the types of solutions we need to support the future of work and our most vulnerable constituencies. Freelancers Union whole-heartedly endorses Maya’s bold and transformative plan.”

Wiley’s health care plan takes bold and comprehensive action to insure all New Yorkers, regardless of income or legal status, while streamlining city health systems and expanding care. You can find the full plan here.

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.

Maya has been endorsed by 1199SEIU, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman Jamaal Bowman Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congresswoman Katie Porter, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Amsterdam News, Community Voices Heard, Higher Heights for America, EMILY’s list, AmplifyHer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Former Assembly Member and Former DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson, Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Assembly Members Davila and Gallagher, Senator Salazar, District Leader Nemir-Olivares, Mark Green, Nathalia Fernández, Robbie Kaplan, Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Steve Levin, and former City Council Member Jimmy Vacca. She has also received the endorsement of New York Progressive Action Network, the 504 Democratic Club, New York State Nurses Association, Our Revolution, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the Working Families Party, and Democracy For America.  She has received ranked choice endorsements from The Jewish Vote and Progressive Women of New York.

Since entering the race, Wiley has introduced several innovative policy proposals, including her New Deal New York, a piece of her economic vision that will create 100,000 jobs; a plan to save small business; a Universal Community Care plan to provide $5,000 grants for the 100,000 most in-need New York City; her Community First Climate Plan; an education plan that hires 1,000 teachers; a policy to prevent maternal mortality; a proposal to combat gun violence; an arts, culture and tourism platform; a women’s agenda; a plan to create safe communities and transform policing; a housing plan for a just and livable city; and a plan to fight evictions.