SAN FRANCISCO: Health Costs May Fuel $57 Million Deficit
San Francisco could be in the red $57 million by 2002, due partly to "increased demands on the city's health service system." According to a report released yesterday by Controller Ed Harrington, the city will have a $1.5 million surplus in FY 1999- 2000 but could be $26.4 million short the following year. And if revenue growth continues at the current average of 5% a year, FY 2001-2002 could bring a $56.8 million shortfall. The report also attributes some of the potential deficit to expected revenue losses at San Francisco General Hospital, "which has been caring for more uninsured patients and has experienced cuts in state and federal reimbursement," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Harrington said, however, that the predictions are "best guesses of what's happening ... not exact numbers, and they shouldn't be given more weight than they're worth." Board President Tom Ammiano said, "Even though the economy is strong, the city really does use a lot of money to maintain the service level that people expect" (Wilson, 3/4).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.