Judge's decision gives HealthySF a Band-Aid

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a petition filed by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association that would have temporarily kept The City from collecting funds from city employers to pay into its health care initiative for the uninsured, HealthySF.

Kennedy, who oversees the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, did not offer a written opinion on the matter and therefore did not “tip his hand” to the legal thinking behind his decision, association Executive Director Kevin Westlye said.

“We’ve moved on, and we’re already working on our response to The City’s appeal,” Westlye said.

The two sides are waiting for the result of San Francisco’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit court filed after a Superior Court judge twice ruled in favor of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. The Ninth Circuit granted The City’s request for the stay, which allows HealthySF to move forward, including an employer spending mandate for medium and large size businesses, to help pay for the program.

Oral arguments will be heard April 17.

The City recently expanded the program to include uninsured workers earning within 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

“As a national effort to offer quality health care stagnates, here in San Francisco we have already extended this most fundamental right to over 10,000 people,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “We will not stop until every San Franciscan has access to quality affordable, comprehensive health care.”

dsmith@examiner.com

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