SAN FRANCISCO: Measure On Tuesday’s Ballot Could Determine Fate of Health Plan
While providing health care for the uninsured "seems like a sure- fire hit in a city known for supporting the less fortunate ... San Francisco officials are uncertain enough that they're asking voters whether it's an idea worth pursuing." If Proposition J is approved on Tuesday, the city will move forward with plans to create a purchasing pool that would combine the city employees and retired employees with the uninsured, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. However, even if the measure is approved, the "city would have to come back to the voters to amend the City Charter before it could implement any such health plan." Dr. Sandra Hernandez, former city health director and chair of the task force that proposed the idea, said, "This proposition is really meant to determine voter sentiment. It has to do with the values of the community -- whether we think universal coverage is an important goal." While Local 250 of the Service Employees International Union supports the measure, it is opposed by the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco, who fear it will "eliminate" health coverage and doctor choice. Hernandez countered that these fears were unwarranted, since "benefits will not be directly affected by making the pool larger." She said, "What we are doing is borrowing the purchasing power of the city employees" (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28).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.