Health Access Proposal Drawing Attention
USA Today on Friday examined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's (D) recent proposal that would provide health care for 82,000 uninsured city residents, regardless of immigration status or pre-existing medical conditions. The Health Access Plan, proposed on June 20, would not provide health insurance but would give uninsured adults access to the same network of doctors, hospitals, surgeries and drug benefits that other workers in the city have.
The goal is to reduce health care costs by emphasizing primary and preventive care, according to Newsom.
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors will vote on the plan later this month, although Newsom says he does not need the board's approval to proceed with the program's implementation, USA Today reports.
The program would cost the city an estimated $200 million in the first year, much of which would be redistributed from existing city programs for the uninsured and low-income residents.
Newsom said he "assume[s] costs will increase" but hopes that the city will not "need to do this in five or six years" because the program will be "replaced by some rational national strategy."
Stephen Shortell, dean of the school of public health at the University of California-Berkeley, said, "This is a case of filling a vacuum at the federal level. We haven't bitten the bullet yet. So we're going to see more innovation in states and municipalities" (Ritter, USA Today, 7/6).