San Francisco Mayor Defends Universal Health Plan
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday at a town hall meeting discussed the city's Health Access Plan, which will provide access to health care services to all uninsured residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Newsom and Mitch Katz, director of the city's public health department, outlined the funding mechanism of the plan and said that all residents would be covered, including:
- Undocumented immigrants;
- HIV/AIDS patients;
- Homeless people; and
- People on methadone maintenance or receiving opiate prescriptions from a physician.
Newsom said, "We believe we can achieve this rather audacious goal" (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/27).
The program is expected to cost about $200 million annually, with the city contributing the $104 million that it already spends on medical care for the uninsured and premiums from plan members expected to generate $56 million. Businesses are expected to contribute $28 million through an employer-contribution mandate (California Healthline, 3/5). The program is set to take effect July 1.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking to eliminate the employer-contribution mandate. City officials maintain that the program would not succeed without the contributions (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/27). 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.