Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mayor de Blasio Orders All City Agencies to Help Enroll New Yorkers in Health Insurance, Including NYC's Public Option

Mayor Bill de Blasio. ( press photo)
Executive Order builds on mayoral commitment to guarantee health care for all, reminds eligible New Yorkers of Jan. 31 deadline to enroll in health insurance

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio last Tuesday January 22, to sign an executive order requiring City agencies to provide New Yorkers with information on health insurance options and encourage them to enroll in a plan. Effective immediately, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit will train agency front line staff, provide agencies with relevant information, and develop a framework to ensure all New Yorkers who interact with the City get information to help them access affordable health insurance. The executive order means increased outreach to enroll people in insurance at parks, schools, public housing, police precincts and government offices—anywhere where City agencies connect with New Yorkers directly.
This order expands on the work GetCoveredNYC is already doing to help New Yorkers enroll in health insurance before the Open Enrollment deadline of Jan. 31 and builds on the Mayor’s commitment to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. Read the order.
“Health care is a human right, and we won’t rest until every New Yorker has coverage,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re now asking all City agencies to help us achieve this goal by sharing information, connecting people to our GetCovered team and ultimately help all New Yorkers access affordable coverage.”
“Whether it’s 600,000 New Yorkers, or just one, it’s one too many people who are living without health insurance or guaranteed health care,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “While our City has done a lot to engage hard-to-reach New Yorkers who are eligible but uninsured, this Executive Order will leverage the expansive reach of all our City agencies to get us even closer to ensuring everyone has the information and resources to receive health insurance and get connected to quality care.”
“With health insurance, people know what benefits they are entitled to, and they are empowered with the range of options available to them,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “I commend the Mayor's executive order redoubling efforts to get more people insured.”
“Health insurance and access to quality care are basic rights that all New Yorkers deserve,” said Eric Rotondi, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “The mayor’s executive order builds on years of outreach by GetCoveredNYC’s City and community partners, and helps ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income or any other factor, are aware of the assistance available to them and receive care when they need it.”
“At a time when the federal government is threatening crucial services and benefits for low-income families, this Administration is making a concerted effort to ensure that every New Yorker, regardless of where they come from, has access to quality healthcare,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This Executive Order expands the role of City agencies to use every point of interaction with New Yorkers as an opportunity to educate them about their options for health insurance and to remind them about the upcoming deadline for the Open Enrollment period.”
“GetCovered has helped tens of thousands of New Yorkers sign up for health insurance, and today, the City is committing to help even more New Yorkers enroll,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “People with insurance are more likely to have had a routine checkup, get preventive care, and to have a personal care provider -- important components for maintaining good health.”
Eight million New Yorkers now have quality health insurance, thanks to the expanded options available to New Yorkers under the Affordable Care Act. In New York City, the uninsured rate has decreased by nearly fifty percent since 2013. Nonetheless, about 600,000 New Yorkers remain without coverage, half of which are eligible to sign up for insurance either through state or city programs, including MetroPlus, the City’s public insurance option. Starting in summer 2019, New Yorkers ineligible for insurance coverage will be able to sign up for NYC Care, a new program that connects people with quality, affordable care and which guarantees them access to a primary care physician at one of NYC Health + Hospitals’ 70+ facilities.
The executive order comes as GetCoveredNYC reminds New Yorkers that the deadline for Open Enrollment period is nine days away. GetCoveredNYC is a citywide initiative that helps New Yorkers enroll in health insurance and get access to primary and preventive care. The initiative provides free one-on-one enrollment assistance, in person, over the phone, and online at locations across the five boroughs, including many NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, Department of Health facilities, Human Resources Administration offices, and MetroPlus offices. Assistance is available in more than a dozen languages. During the Open Enrollment period, uninsured New Yorkers can enroll in health insurance coverage through the New York State of Health Marketplace. New Yorkers who previously enrolled through the Marketplace must renew their health insurance each year to maintain coverage.
In addition, New Yorkers are encouraged to learn more about MetroPlus, which is undergoing significant improvements to create a more streamlined and customer-friendly experience. Starting later this year, New Yorkers who are covered through one of MetroPlus’ 100+ plan options will have better access to mental health services, more health care delivery options thanks to telehealth, and will benefit from an enhanced website and customer service call center. MetroPlus will also create new partnerships with city agencies to reach the uninsured and improve service, and will encourage primary care visits through tighter integration with NYC Health + Hospitals, as well as offering new member incentives and rewards.
New Yorkers can contact GetCoveredNYC and receive free enrollment assistance by calling 311, texting CoveredNYC (SeguroNYC en EspaƱol) to 877877, or visiting They can also enroll directly online through the New York State of Health Marketplace by visiting Those interested in signing up for MetroPlus can learn more by visiting
Created by Mayor de Blasio in 2016, GetCoveredNYC is a citywide outreach initiative that helps all New Yorkers enroll in health insurance and access primary and preventive care. The initiative is a partnership between the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Human Resources Administration and MetroPlus Health Plan. GetCoveredNYC has assisted over 130,000 New Yorkers in enrolling in health insurance.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Malaya Movement Mobilizes on Martial Law Day Against Human Rights Abuses of Duterte Regime

Photo Christiaan Pfeifer

New York – This past Friday, September 21, 2018, the Malaya Movement, together with Bayan USA-Northeast, Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, GABRIELA New York and New Jersey, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), and the recently inaugurated Migrante USA, held a mobilization at the Philippine Consulate General of New York on the 46th anniversary of the 1972 declaration of martial law in the Philippines by ex-president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Old and new generations of activists alongside allied communities and organizations participated in the mobilization to remember the sacrifices of the Filipino people who fought against and overthrew the Marcos dictatorship, as well as remember all those who were arrested, tortured, and killed by the Marcos regime. The Malaya Movement recognizes that act of remembering is crucial in face of today’s gross historical revisionism, blatant denials, and calls to “move on,” even by those who were directly responsible and carried out atrocities during martial law.

The action sought to remind the world of the truth of what happened during martial law under Marcos, expose and call to end the atrocities of the current regime of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte including his imposition of and Congress’ complicity in extending martial law in the southern region of Mindanao, and denounce his open political support for the return to power of the Marcos family and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the highest posts in the country despite the fact that they are guilty of plunder and crimes against the Filipino people.

Taking a stand against the repetition of this violent history and continuing the struggle, the Malaya Movement brought together various sectors to fight for the advancement of genuine democracy, human rights, and justice in the Philippines. All collectively called for an end to martial law in Mindanao, US military aid that continues to fund the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who are perpetuating human rights abuses nationwide, the contractualization of Filipino workers, and the TRAIN law that has contributed to worsening economic conditions, the ongoing food crisis, and the highest inflation rate in nearly a decade and the highest among ASEAN countries.  All called to stop the killings in the Philippines and the silencing of journalists, and to unequivocally say no to dictatorship, fascism, and tyranny.

The program featured speakers from Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, Migrante New York and New Jersey, Gabriela New York, Bayan USA, and the Malaya Movement, as well as activists who fought against the dictatorship of Marcos decades ago.  Responding to Governor Imee Marcos’s claim that millennials have “moved on” from her father’s martial law and Duterte and Arroyo’s denial of abuses and plunder during their own presidencies, Malaya Movement Northeast Co-Coordinator Vina Orden said, “While you may try to erase the atrocities of the Marcos, Arroyo, and Duterte regimes from our history books, for as long as martial law survivors continue to tell their stories of what it’s really like to be detained and tortured as political prisoners, for so long as the children of survivors continue to deal with the emotional and psychological damage of our parents’ truth as well as their silences, for so long as millenials like many of those gathered here today continue to educate themselves...for so long as there are more of us who are committed to the truth, we will never forget what martial law was and is, and we won’t let any of you ‘move on’ unless you are held accountable for the ways that you continue to sell out Philippine sovereignty and the Filipino people.”  Old and new generations of activists participated in the symbolic act of ripping up and destroying images of Marcos and Duterte, chanting, “never again, never again, never again to martial law!”  The program ended with everyone singing the song “Awit ng Pag-asa.”

Photo Christiaan Pfeifer
The mobilization came on the heels of the announcement of the International People’s Tribunal’s guilty verdict against Duterte for crimes against humanity over gross systematic violations of human rights on September 20, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The proceedings and decision noted the politically motivated killings under the Duterte regime, massacres in Mindanao under martial law, the targeting and persecution of activists and journalists, vilification of women, militarization of Moro communities, violations of the socio-economic rights of the Filipino people, and how the Duterte administration’s anti-drugs, anti-loitering, and counterinsurgency programs have terrorized Filipino citizens, particularly the most marginalized sectors, including the urban poor, indigenous peoples, laborers, and peasants.

The Malaya Movement is committed to exposing Duterte’s abuses of power and attacks against democracy, standing in solidarity with those in the Philippines and around the world who are fighting against his looming dictatorship.  We will continue to use our voice and influence to uphold human rights and resist fascism and dictatorship in the Philippines. Forty-six years years ago Marcos forever altered the course of the Philippine history and the lives of the Filipino people when he signed Proclamation 1081, declaring martial law over the entire country. Forty-six years later, the Malaya Movement declares: never again and never forget.