D-day arrives for HealthySF

The city requirement that employers spend money on health care for employees goes before a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel today as local businesses go into a holding pattern before they commit funds to The City’s universal health care program.

The health care security ordinance, which is expected to contribute $28 million to the $196 million Healthy San Francisco plan, requires employers to either pay an amount based on the hours an employee works, or purchase a health care plan.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged the requirement, and in December 2007 federal Judge Jeffrey White ruled against the plan. Several weeks later, however, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay, allowing The City to enforce the spending requirement.

Today in Pasadena, the same panel — Judges Alfred Goodwin, Stephen Reinhardt and William Fletcher — will hear arguments onthe association’s appeal of the stay. A ruling could come within a month, said Kevin Westlye, executive director of the restaurant association.

The goal for the association’s attorneys is to separate the universal health care program from the employer spending mandate, Westlye said.

Vincent Chhabria, a deputy city attorney, will argue before the panel that although local governments are not allowed to force employers to adopt health care plans, local governments can require spending if it brings businesses into compliance.

“If they prefer not to create their own [health care] plan, they can simply pay The City,” Chhabria said.

Businesses, which have expressed confusion about how to comply with the ordinance since the stay was issued in January, are taking a wait-and-see approach, Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

“I’ve heard a lot of people are waiting for [today] before they really decide what they do,” Newsom said.

Carol Piasente, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said she’s heard that some businesses are not signing up for the HealthySF care plan, but are using other options such as medical reimbursement accounts.

dsmith@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read