Health Access Program Signed Into Law
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday signed into law a program to expand health care access to the estimated 82,000 uninsured city residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/8).
The San Francisco Health Access Program is expected to cost about $200 million annually. The city will contribute $104 million that it already spends on medical care for the uninsured. Premiums from plan members are expected to generate $56 million.
Businesses are expected to contribute $28 million through an employer-contribution mandate developed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano. The mandate requires businesses to contribute $1.06 or $1.60 per hour worked per worker depending on how many workers a company employs.
Private businesses with 50 or more employees that currently do not provide health coverage to workers will be required to begin contributing to the health access plan July 1, 2007. Businesses with 20 to 49 workers will be required to begin payments in April 2008. Businesses that provide health insurance will be required to contribute to the plan if their health care spending is less than the mandated amount (California Healthline, 7/26).
Newsom said implementing the program will be "the most complex" aspect of the plan (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/8).