De Blasio launches agency to combat 'worst landlords'

Grant Boone
January 13, 2019

Some Americans want to see the health initiative replicated nationwide. The Washington Post reported that "the promise is aimed at 600,000 New Yorkers who lack insurance because they can't afford it, believe they don't need it, or can't get it because they are in the country illegally".

Ironically, in one of her final acts as public advocate, new state Attorney General Letitia James declared the de Blasio-controlled New York City Housing Authority the worst landlord of 2018. NYC Care will launch in summer 2019 and will roll out geographically, starting in the Bronx.

The idea took inspiration from San Francisco's version of universal health care, Healthy San Francisco, enacted in 2007.

Although the mayor is calling for legislation to be passed soon, he says the plan would be phased in over time. Since 2007, the for-profit school has paid NYC Health + Hospitals for the privilege of being the only global medical school whose students do rotations in the city health care system.

Providers ranging from primary doctors to pediatricians and obstetricians will be from the NYC Health + Hospitals system.

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To help people save for their retirement, the mayor intends to work with the City Council to require all employers with at least five employees to either offer access to a retirement plan or auto-enroll their employees into the city plan, with a default contribution out of the employees' own earnings of 5 percent (which could then be increased or reduced by the employee). Part-time workers would fall under a mandate allowing them to accrue paid time off at a guaranteed minimum rate.

The announcement follows the creation of other municipal offices dedicated to tenant issues in recent years, including the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force and the Department of Buildings' Office of Tenant Advocate, the latter of which was signed into law in 2017, but did not become operational until June of last year, according to a quarterly report.

De Blasio's office credited the law, informally known as Obamacare, with bringing the number of uninsured Americans down to almost half of what it was in 2013.

Mr de Blasio, who has sought to build a national profile during his five years in office, said that the city was now capable of providing healthcare for New Yorkers regardless of their income or immigration status.

Councilmember Jumaane Williams said he was optimistic about de Blasio's progressive tone.

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