On January 8, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will speak at a press conference at the Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, New York City, in New York City. State of New York, United States. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City has launched a $ 100 million health insurance program for 600,000 uninsured residents, including those who can not afford it and those who can not afford it. live illegally in the United States, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

De Blasio, who is in his second term as mayor of the country's most populous city, has long supported universal health coverage. The extension of the program to about 300,000 illegal immigrants puts the Democrats in conflict with US President Donald Trump, who has made border security a top priority of his presidency.

"Nobody should have to live in fear. No one should do without the health care they need. Health care is a human right. In this city, we will make it a reality, "Blasio said at a press conference. "From that moment in New York, the right to health care is guaranteed to everyone."

Health care coverage has become a highly partisan issue in the United States. Trump's Republican Party has called for the repeal of the 2010 Obamacare program, which extended health care to most uninsured Americans, while the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has called for a pay-as-you-go system. unique, funded by the federal government, inspired by programs in Canada and in many European countries. .

The NYC Care plan, which according to Blasio would be funded without raising taxes, is an extension of the city's existing MetroPlus plan, which covers hospital bills for low-income residents. The new plan provides insurance for out-of-hospital physician visits. Health experts say that access to regular medical check ups can reduce the cost of hospital stays.

NYC Care, to be launched in the Bronx Borough in the summer of 2019, will reach the entire city by 2021 and cost at least $ 100 million a year, according to a statement from the Mayor's office. .

The mayor said that all services would be affordable on a sliding scale for those who are able to pay part of the costs, while those who can not pay will be treated for free.

Unlike the MetroPlus plan, NYC Care is a program that operates the city's hospital system. It offers no health coverage to residents traveling outside the city, officials said at the press conference.

Reportage of Gina Cherelus; Edited by Susan Thomas and Bernadette Baum