New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his plan to provide health care to all New Yorkers — including illegal immigrants — on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper. He stopped short of explaining exactly how he planned to offset the cost, saying only that the “wrong people” had all the money and he planned to correct that.
Tapper opened the segment by quoting Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum — who had proposed a similar plan for his state, but noted that unless other states joined the program, it would be financially impossible. “He was saying in Florida they could do it only if other states joined him because otherwise, all sick people would just come to Florida,” Tapper explained.
“What’s to stop sick people from flocking to New York and overburdening the system?”
De Blasio shrugged off the question, saying, “I don’t see that happening.” (RELATED: De Blasio Rolls Out New Health Care Plan For Everyone. Yes, Including Illegal Immigrants)
We should have single-payer, Medicare for all. No question. But the bottom line is right now we have 600,000 people in my city who have no coverage at all. That’s unacceptable. That’s making us a city less healthy, less secure than we need to be.
Our plan is guaranteed health care for all and says this should be a priority to ensure that we have a decent kind of society. If you don’t do that, what happens? People are sick at work. Their families get sick. They go to the emergency room, which is the single most costly way to provide health care. We know that by guaranteeing health care, we’re going to create the kind of society that works.
Tapper pressed de Blasio further, referencing an earlier quote from the mayor. “You said something pretty radical this week that I want to ask you about. You said there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in the city. It’s just in the wrong hands.”
De Blasio nodded, “Yep. That is a quote.”
“Who decides whose hands are the right hands and whose hands are the wrong hands?” Tapper asked.
“When I say there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands, it means to say we need policies that give back to working people. Like guaranteeing health care for all,” de Blasio explained.
“What’s interesting about the argument, which struck a lot of people, is you are not talking about fairness,” Tapper continued. “You are saying these people have money and it’s wrong that they have money. Not that they have money, they live exorbitant or wealthy lifestyles and can give more to help these people. You’re saying it’s wrong they have money. Who is deciding whether it’s wrong?”
De Blasio pointed back to a time when the United States had much higher taxes on the wealthy, arguing that it had led to a more prosperous nation.
“It’s clear to me why it’s wrong because government policies gave the 1 percent every conceivable leg up. This was not by accident. As I say, this was an agenda. Systematic. You go back decades, even to the time of Dwight Eisenhower. We had some of the highest tax rates on the wealthy this country ever saw. We had a prosperous country. We had that prosperity pretty well shared among different people, including working people in this country. We had investments in infrastructure. The kinds of things that grew the economy for everyone.”
He concluded by blaming politicians starting with Republican President Ronald Reagan who, through tax policy and other policies, had implemented a “systematic agenda to take that money and put it more and more in the hands of the few.”