Sunset Park has Brooklyn’s lowest rate of health insurance — and that’s a big problem
Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace are among the least-insured neighborhoods in New York City and contain no public hospitals or health clinics — presenting a challenge to the success of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to provide universal health care to New York City, a new report shows.
The study — conducted by the Independent Budget Office — calls into question the efficacy of de Blasio’s $100 million-per-year health insurance program NYC Care, slated to roll out in the Bronx later this summer and to all five boroughs in 2021. The program will attempt to provide access to primary health care for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.
Although uninsured New Yorkers can already get emergency health services at city hospitals, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, the program aims to link patients to primary care providers within city hospitals and clinics. By offering primary and preventative health services to the uninsured, policymakers hope they’ll keep them out of emergency rooms — which can be far more costly for taxpayers.
But a crucial factor in the success of the NYC Care program is access to NYC Health + Hospitals’ more than 70 locations, where patients can get specialty care, prescription drugs, mental health services and more — offered on a sliding-scale cost basis.
None of those locations, however, are in Sunset Park or Windsor Terrace, where 12.4 percent of residents lack health insurance, according to the report. That’s almost double the citywide rate, according to census data from 2017. The nearest facilities are Coney Island Hospital in Sheepshead Bay and Kings County Hospital in East Flatbush.
Other neighborhoods are also at risk of being underserved by NYC Care, especially in southern and central Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Canarsie, though the percentage of uninsured residents there is closer to the citywide average.
Bushwick was also among the least-insured neighborhoods in the city, but contains several public clinics to provide easy access to care.
Read the full report here.
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