San Francisco Health Care Proposals Combined
An employer health care contribution mandate proposed by San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano should be merged with Mayor Gavin Newsom's (D) universal health access plan to ensure funding for the program, San Francisco Health Director Mitch Katz said Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6).
Under Ammiano's plan, businesses with 20 to 99 workers would pay $1.06 per hour worked per employee, and businesses with 100 or more workers would pay $1.60 per hour worked per employee for employee health care. Businesses would pay a prorated amount for part-time employees, and businesses with fewer than 20 workers would be exempt.
Newsom's plan would expand health care access to the city's 82,000 uninsured residents at a cost of about $200 million annually. According to the plan, the city would contribute $104 million, businesses would voluntarily contribute $38 million and the remainder would come from member premiums and other sources (California Healthline, 6/27).
Speaking at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing, Katz said, "I believe from a health policy point of view that the (mayor's) Health Access Plan cannot successfully go forward without the legislation that Supervisor Ammiano is carrying as well." He added that the two proposals "were meant to fit together and do fit together."
The board's Budget and Finance Committee voted to merge the two proposals after the hearing.
Julian Potter, Newsom's director of public policy, said a task force is continuing to work with Ammiano to reach a compromise on the employer contribution mandate (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6).
Also at Wednesday's board committee meeting, a proposal was announced to allow the city's smaller businesses to delay contributions for health care under the plan until 2008 (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 7/6).
Business owners continued to criticize Ammiano's proposal, saying it could lead to employee layoffs and hurt the city's economy.
The Board of Supervisors will consider the combined Newsom-Ammiano plan on Tuesday (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6).