San Francisco Eateries Pass on New Health Care Costs to Customers
San Francisco restaurants are issuing surcharges and raising prices to help cover employee health insurance required by the city's universal health care access program, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Since Jan. 9, businesses with more than 20 employees are required to spend a certain amount on health care, either in coverage for their workers or in payments to the city.
The city's 4,200 restaurants say the program, called Healthy San Francisco, is burdensome, and their trade group, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, has filed a lawsuit to halt it.
In the meantime, many area restaurants are issuing a service charge or flat fee to help cover the new costs. Other restaurants are raising food prices, rather than directly alerting customers to the costs.
Owners of restaurants with fewer than 20 employees, which are exempt from the employer contribution requirement of the health care law, say that the program has made it too expensive to expand, the Times reports.
On April 17, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the suit filed by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 3/17).