San Francisco Weighs Health Coverage for Taxi Drivers
San Francisco officials are considering an initiative to provide health care coverage to uninsured taxi drivers in the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
A recent study found that uninsured taxi drivers cost the city up to $3 million annually in visits to public hospitals and clinics.
The city's Taxicab Commission estimates that it would cost $12 million annually to provide coverage to the approximately 4,000 uninsured cabdrivers.
The city's new Healthy San Francisco Program excludes nearly half of the city's cabdrivers because it only provides access to health care services for San Francisco residents.
Heidi Machen, executive director of the Taxicab Commission, said the cost of insuring all drivers, along with a city initiative toward environmentally cleaner cabs, "cannot take place without increased fees and fares."
Some taxi companies are trying to finance health care coverage by increasing driver fees, as well as shifting from monthly to annual leases for drivers.
Taxi drivers argue that the cost of signing an annual lease could prevent them from taking time off in case of illness or family emergency (Selna, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4).