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.
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.
On the topic of providing health insurance for children, Bloomberg released a plan to enroll all eligible children in public health insurance. His campaign estimates that 215,000 kids are eligible but unenrolled. The city will also subsidise low-income families' enrollment in private insurance.
Bloomberg has also called for a $25 million investment for digitizing medical records to improve health care delivery through efficiency and accuracy and save money on administrative costs. He will also ask the State to match the funds 3-1.
He has funded improvements to local hospitals and created programs for mammograms, HIV/AIDS, and prenatal care.