Healthcare is a human right. The health and well-being of the people who live in our city reflects the health and well-being of the city itself. We need to invest in it.
Fully fund and expand NYC Health+Hospitals
New York City’s Health & Hospitals public healthcare system has a mission to provide exceptional care to all, including those on Medicaid, the uninsured, and the undocumented. In the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, we all saw just how critical H+H is to the health of New Yorkers. Expanding the number of community health centers under NYC Health+Hospitals is crucial. Such an act would allow for barriers such as cost and lack of insurance to be removed for those who need urgent, primary care. This should also include expanding the range of services covered by NYC Care, as well as raising the means tested threshold.
Increase funding to Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)
New York City relies on CBOs to help with gaps in healthcare, specifically surrounding HIV / AIDS treatment, primary care, HCV treatment, injection-drug user care, asthma, and many more community health issues. CBOs are an unofficial healthcare safety net in many underserved communities. They are funded through the City Council’s discretionary budget, making it difficult for CBOs to plan in advance, and this year, CBO funding was cut by 15%. The Council should work to expand and stabilize funding to CBOs.
Use zoning powers to threaten status of non-profit hospitals, forcing them to either pay taxes or provide higher levels of indigent care
Non-profit hospitals are among the most powerful entities in the state, having absorbed and destroyed local hospitals over the last two decades. Their market power allows them to raise insurance reimbursements and push uninsured and under-insured to the public hospital system, despite bringing in hundreds of millions in annual revenues and paying executives millions in salaries. The Council should threaten to sue these hospitals and take away their non-profit status unless certain levels of indigent care is provided, as well as restricting zoning permits to extract concessions.
Oppose hospital closures
During the last two decades and since the formation of the Berger Commission, state policy has encouraged hospital closures, mergers, and consolidations, drastically reducing hospital beds in the city, which devastated our city during the COVID-19 crisis. Although this falls under state jurisdiction, the Council should work with the Mayor’s office to oppose measures to close hospitals and reduce our quantity of hospital beds.
Support Medicare for All at the federal level and the NY Health Act at the state level
While neither of these policies are under municipal jurisdiction, it is crucial to enact these single-payer healthcare systems-supporting them, and organizing constituent support for them is crucial.