SF Upholds Healthcare Ordinance

Despite the pushback from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the San Francisco Healthcare Ordinance remains in place.

From SFGate:

Rejecting challenges by restaurant owners and the Bush administration, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the city can require employers to spend a specific amount of money on health care without interfering with federal regulation of employee benefit plans…San Francisco’s 2-year-old program, when fully implemented, will offer care at a network of hospitals and clinics for 73,000 uninsured adults not covered by the Medi-Cal program for the poor or Medicare for the elderly. More than 80 percent of the $200 million annual cost will come from state and local taxes and payments from patients, based on their incomes. The lawsuit challenged the city’s authority to require large and midsize companies to help pay the bill.

Under the ordinance, companies that do not offer insurance to their workers, at levels of spending set by the city, must pay a fee to cover the cost of the employees’ care at the city’s network of hospitals and clinics. That provision applies to private employers with at least 20 workers and to nonprofits with at least 50.

This decision comes as no real surprise. I know I’ve gotten used to paying the extra 3-5% added to my dinner bill. It’s a part of living in San Francisco. And personally, I’d rather that the employees who work in the restaurants I go to have access to health insurance, if not for anything other than selfish reasons.

I’d prefer that the cook not sneeze in my soup. But maybe that’s just me.