San Francisco Universal Health Care Access Program Up and Running
San Francisco's effort to ensure that all city residents have access to health care services appears to be pushing more employers to contribute to the cost of workers' health care, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A 2006 city ordinance requires employers to spend a minimum amount on health care, in coverage for their workers, reimbursements of medical expenses or payments to the city through the Healthy San Francisco program.
To date, about 18,000 people -- one-quarter of the uninsured -- have enrolled in Healthy San Francisco.
As local businesses come into compliance with the law, some businesses have passed the cost on to consumers. Some restaurants have increased prices or added a surcharge, while a local staffing agency has added an additional hourly fee for its services, according to the Journal.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association is challenging the provision of the law that requires employers to meet a spending requirement, arguing that the provision violates a federal law addressing regulation of health care benefits.
Larry Levitt, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that other localities might be encouraged to attempt similar programs if San Francisco wins the lawsuit (Dvorak, Wall Street Journal, 5/5).
KALW's "Your Call" on Monday was scheduled to include a discussion about Healthy San Francisco ("Your Call" Web site, 5/5).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.