New York City has enormous public health challenges. Roughly 2 million residents are not insured. New York is the only state in the country that requires local governments to pay a substantial share of Medicaid costs. Medicaid will cost the city almost $4.9 billion this year.
In 2002, the mayor and the City Council agreed to a new smoking ban. The measure requires that public places including bars, nightclubs and restaurants and all places of employment in New York City smoke-free. Officials agreed to some exemptions: cigar bars, owner-operated bars, fraternal organizations and portions of outdoor cafes will still allow smoking.
Ferrer promises to enroll 290,000 children without health care insurance and another 200,000 adults in health care programs. Ferrer says he will invest in community-based enrollment centers and provide information technology to ease the process of enrollment. He also promises to curb Medicaid fraud which costs $1 billion a year. (Read Ferrer's health care plan.)
When he served in the New York City Council, Fernando Ferrer chaired the health committee and he points to his work to improve services at hospitals. As Bronx Borough President, he created Bronx Health Link, a consortium of four Bronx hospitals and numerous clinics.
He promises to increase enrollment in programs like Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus. He also promises to increase funding for the Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Ferrer supports the smoking ban and would not overturn it.
Virginia Fields has outlined a plan to help elderly New Yorker’s health needs.
She promises to increase funding for senior centers and expand mental health services in them. She says she would increase the availability of services for people with Alzheimer’s. She would fund and promote programs that help senior citizens stay in their homes and maintain their independence.
Fields supports the smoking ban and would not overturn it.
As Speaker of the City Council, Gifford Miller passed new lead paint legislation that puts new demands on landlords and business owners to rid their properties of lead paint, which can be harmful to children. He created an Asthma Task Force to submit recommendations to state and federal officials.
He promises to enforce environmental regulations to make the city’s environment safer.
Miller voted in favor of the smoking ban in the City Council.
Anthony Weiner promises to modernize the current system of enrolling New Yorkers in Medicaid, the health program for low-income individuals. He has set a goal of enrolling two-thirds of the 800,000 people who qualify, but have not joined the program. He says the current system could be updated with new technology that would streamline the process. He promises to improve service from primary care physicians, and expand programs that provide comprehensive home health care services for elderly.
Weiner also says he demonstrates his commitment to the health of the city by driving a hybrid car. He pledges to address environmental concerns by improving mass transit and encouraging the use of hybrid vehicles. (Read Weiner’s health plan)
Weiner supports the smoking ban and would not overturn it.
Michael Bloomberg says he has improved the health of every New Yorker by instituting a ban on smoking in public places. He claims that the law along with smoking cessation programs has reduced the number of smokers by 188,000.
He has funded improvements to local hospitals and created programs for mammograms, HIV/AIDS, and prenatal care.