Planning Continues for San Francisco Health Access Plan
An advisory committee is continuing to draft provisions of San Francisco's program to provide access to health care services to all city residents, despite Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) announcement of a plan to expand health insurance coverage statewide, the San Francisco Business Times reports (Young, San Francisco Business Times, 1/15).
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.
Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) signed the law in August 2006.
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 on July 1. 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, 8/8/06).
Tangerine Brigham, director of the health access program, said city officials are "going full steam ahead" with preparations to enact the plan.
City officials plan to begin enrolling some residents in July.
The city attorney's office does not have an opinion on whether Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed plan would take precedence over the San Francisco program. The Business Times reports that state law typically supersedes city law (San Francisco Business Times, 1/15).