Businesses Criticize Proposed Health Plan Contribution Mandates
At a Board of Supervisors committee meeting on Wednesday, some San Francisco business owners criticized legislation that would require employers to contribute to a newly announced universal health access program or other type of employee health insurance, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Business owners say the cost of provisions in the legislation could put them out of business or require them to pass on costs to customers.
Under the proposal, businesses with 100 or more employees would be required to pay an average of $273 monthly per employee for subsidized health care for workers.
Employers could contribute to workers' health insurance in one of four ways, according to the plan:
- Pay employees directly as reimbursement for medical services;
- Place the money into health savings accounts that each employee could use;
- Pay an insurance company or other third-party that provides health services; or
- Pay the city to help fund the San Francisco Health Access Program.
Ammiano said seven other supervisors are cosponsoring the legislation (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 6/22). Ammiano said he has enough votes to override a mayoral veto of the proposal.
Earlier this week, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) unveiled plans for the Health Access Program, which would provide access to care for the city's estimated 82,000 uninsured residents. The plan is not health insurance, but would allow participants to:
- Choose from a network of 400 doctors;
- Undergo surgeries;
- Obtain prescription drugs; and
- Visit public and private hospitals and clinics within the city.
Newsom on Wednesday said that it likely would be necessary to require business contributions to the proposed program in order for it to work, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. However, Newsom said he does not support Ammiano's legislation as it is currently written (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/22).
The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee is expected to hold a full hearing on Ammiano's legislation on Monday (San Francisco Examiner, 6/22).
Newsom's Health Access Program "has an equal dose of practicality to contain its scope and bureaucracy," a Chronicle editorial states. "The plan, as well as the cooperative atmosphere, should be nurtured with care and vigor," according to the Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.