Employer Health Insurance Mandate Would Hurt Small Businesses, Report Says
If legislation were approved that requires all San Francisco businesses to pay for employee health care, as many as 590 jobs would be lost, according to a San Francisco controller report released Friday, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The report found that small businesses would be most affected.
San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano has introduced a measure that would mandate employer contributions to health care. Under the plan, businesses with 20 to 99 workers would pay $1.06 per hour worked per employee and businesses with 100 or more workers would pay $1.60 per hour worked per employee for employee health care.
According to the report, the fees for businesses with fewer than 100 workers would generate an estimated $31 million annually, and the fees for businesses with more than 100 workers would generate an estimated $18 million annually. The report states that some businesses would pass the costs on to consumers and others would cut jobs or close.
Business leaders, who oppose Ammiano's proposal, said the controller's report shows the plan would result in the closure of many small businesses. Supporters said businesses would rebound and new jobs would be created in the health care industry, while more residents would have health care coverage.
Ammiano's plan would generate funding for a universal health care access proposal Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) announced last week. Newsom's plan would provide access to health services to the estimated 82,000 uninsured city residents at a cost of about $200 million annually (Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner, 6/24).
Newsom's universal health access plan "only highlights how dysfunctional the U.S. health care system has become," San Francisco Chronicle business columnist David Lazarus writes. The plan "also shows that local efforts to expand coverage, while well intended, will ultimately fall victim to the same economic forces that are making health care an untenable expense for the country's largest employers and insurance providers (which points to the need for a national policy of universal coverage)," according to Lazarus (Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25).
KQED's "This Week in Northern California" on Friday included a report on Newsom's proposal (Gordon, "This Week in Northern California," KQED, 6/23).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.