Flurry of Announcements Has New York City Politics Abuzz

Richard B. Levine  Newscom

Mayor Bill de Blasio surprised a national morning news audience Tuesday when he announced his administration will launch the largest, most comprehensive plan in the nation to guarantee health care for every New Yorker.

The programme will include customer-friendly call lines to help New Yorkers - regardless of their insurance - make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, paediatricians, gynaecologists, and a full spectrum of health care services, de Blasio said. Some Americans want to see the health initiative replicated nationwide. At this point, there are more questions than answers, but one thing is certain-if successfully enacted, the mayor's paid time off proposal will significantly impact New York City employers. All services will be available on a sliding scale and will cover roughly the 600,000 city residents without insurance, roughly half of whom are undocumented immigrants.

Trump made reversing former president Barack Obama's health care law a key pledge of his campaign, and his Republican party successfully repealed in 2017 a key provision meant to keep overall costs down by ensuring healthy individuals bought insurance. No U.S. city or state requires paid time off for workers, according to the Post, although Puerto Rico does require employers to pay for time off.

The city will also pressure the MTA to restart the SBS Bus program, helping fulfill the de Blasio administration October 2017 commitment to add 20 SBS routes citywide.

Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, de Blasio announced big plans highlighting worker protections. The mayor made the announcement in the State of the City address that he delivered January 10.

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The city's Department of Transportation will increase the pace of bus lane installation and add high-priority green lights for buses, and the city will expand its partnership with Warby Parker to provide free eyeglasses to all city kindergartners and first graders.

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

"The city's worst landlords will have a new sheriff to fear", de Blasio said. Workers would have to be employed for four months to qualify.

In November, Democrats in the City Council have introduced 18 new bills that would restrict landlords' abilities to change tenancies and extract more rent from building residents.

He also re-upped a 2016 proposal to create a public retirement system for the 2 million New Yorkers who do not have employer-sponsored savings programs.

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