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News for the week of 07-26-2006

Supe Gives Final OK to Health Care Coverage
The San Francisco Chronicle, 7-26-06

Editor's Notes:

San Francisco moved one step closer to becoming the first U.S. city to offer health insurance to all of its uninsured residents after its Board of Supervisors approved a plan that will cost about $200 million annually. The plan is likely to face legal challenges, primarily because it forces businesses to provide insurance for employees—a move that is sure to cost the city jobs.

City Health Director Dr. Mitch Katz said the program will be up and running by July 1, 2007, and that enrollment forms will be mailed out next spring. He hopes to enroll 15,000 people in the first three to four months.

He said the plan will simply be an extension of the San Francisco Health Plan, which provides health insurance to more than 50,000 Medi-Cal members and other poor city residents, who receive care at city health clinics and hospitals.

Private businesses with 20 or more employees that do not currently provide health insurance to workers will be required to start paying on July 1. Firms with 20-49 workers have until the following April to begin paying. Moreover businesses that already offer insurance will also be required to pay if the cost of coverage they currently provide is less per employee than the levels called for in the plan.

For a more detailed look at the S.F. plan, see Sally Pipes recent MPT Spotlight, Dreaming by the Bay.

[permanent link]



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