De Blasio: Universal Healthcare Would've Helped to 'Beat Back' Coronavirus

May 6, 2020

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio suggested on Wednesday that a universal health care system would have "beat back" the coronavirus outbreak.

"This is a real wakeup call, and certainly it speaks powerfully to why we need a more universal approach to health care, which if we had had it, I think, would have been one of the ways to beat back this disease. Universal health care and universal testing would have been the ways to stop this thing," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

The mayor also said countries with universal health care systems and testing strategies "did a hell of a lot better" than the United States in fighting the virus, which should spur a reevaluation of "the whole approach to health care."

According to a Johns Hopkins University report, the United States has the second-lowest coronavirus death rate of any developed nation. Most of the countries with higher death rates than America's have universal health care systems, and countries with single-payer health care systems, such as the United Kingdom, have struggled with shortages of coronavirus tests.

In early April, the New York Times published a report saying de Blasio had made numerous mistakes in responding to the coronavirus during the previous month. He faced criticism for ignoring warning signs about the pandemic, according to the Times, and he also misinformed New Yorkers about the danger posed by the virus and failed to follow his own guidelines by going to the gym.