San Francisco Health Access Program Could Become Model
San Francisco this week expanded its universal health care access program citywide, placing it at the forefront of state and national health care reform efforts, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The city aims to cover all 82,000 uninsured adult residents under the Healthy San Francisco program. However, unlike other proposed universal health care plans, Healthy San Francisco is not health insurance, meaning it only covers the cost of services within the city (Adams, Chicago Tribune, 9/19).
Participants will have access to 14 city health clinics and eight affiliated community clinics, with an emphasis on preventive care and chronic disease care.
The expansion on Monday applies only to residents with incomes that do not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level.
The next expansion phase, beginning in November, will not have income requirements (California Healthline, 9/18).
Ken Jacobs, chair of UC-Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, said, "What we're seeing here is the absence of real action at the federal level." He added, "It certainly sends the message that this is possible."
On the state level, Jacobs said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal "clearly" was spurred by the Healthy San Francisco program (Chicago Tribune, 9/19).