Restaurant Association Takes Healthy S.F. To U.S. Supreme Court
On Monday, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the legality of a Healthy San Francisco provision requiring employers to contribute to the cost of workers' health care coverage, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Healthy San Francisco launched in 2007 and aims to provide health care access for all city residents.
GGRA's petition alleges that Healthy San Francisco conflicts with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a 1974 federal law regarding employee benefit programs.
The restaurant association has taken issue with the program's requirement that all city employers with 20 or more workers:
- Provide health insurance benefits;
- Contribute to employee health care spending accounts; or
- Pay into the city's fund for Healthy San Francisco.
Kevin Westlye, director of the GGRA, said such payments are extremely burdensome for restaurant owners. He added that it is unfair to require businesses to abide by a combination of city and state regulations.
Vince Chhabria, deputy city attorney, said a variety of city and state regulations govern numerous employee benefits nationwide, and that none have been found to violate ERISA.
Chhabria said he expects the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case by October or November. If the court accepts the case, it could reach a decision in June 2010, he said (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).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.