Editorial, Opinion Piece Address Proposed San Francisco Health Care Mandate
The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an editorial and an opinion piece addressing a proposal by Supervisor Tom Ammiano to require businesses to contribute to workers' health insurance.
Under a revised version of the proposal, San Francisco businesses with 20 or more employees that currently do not offer health care coverage would be required to provide basic preventive medical care for uninsured employees. Employers would contribute between $50 and $75 per month to a health savings account for each worker (California Healthline, 1/27).
Ammiano's revised proposal is "a welcome fresh start, though plenty of questions remain," a Chronicle editorial states. However, "passing the concept of basic health coverage with the details and price worked out later," as Ammiano recommends, "isn't good enough," according to the editorial.
The editorial states, "If ever there was a complicated undertaking in need of thorough study, health care is it," adding, "Asking questions, interviewing experts and collecting data is not tantamount to killing a promising idea." The editorial concludes that providing health care access to the uninsured should "be a top priority, and so should the full knowledge of the costs and conditions that go with supplying health care" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30).
"It might behoove the city" to examine the "nature of the uninsured before offering solutions," as the majority of the uninsured are young adults who "voluntarily decline coverage," according to a Chronicle opinion piece by San Francisco writer Cinnamon Stillwell. Stillwell writes that San Francisco already "spends more on public health than any other city in the country," and "only 13% of the population is without health insurance." If Ammiano's measure becomes law, "it could be the nail in the coffin for San Francisco's beleaguered business community," according to Stillwell (Stillwell, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).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.