S.F.’s affordable health care ready for soft launch

A new program to ensure that every San Franciscan has access to affordable health care will begin enrolling its first patients next week at two Chinatown public health centers.

San Francisco made national headlines when the program was announced last year, and received recent praise from filmmaker Michael Moore, who came to The City last week to promote his latest documentary, “Sicko,” an indictment of the American health care system.

Authored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano and backed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, the plan, recently renamed Healthy San Francisco, offers access to health care — at a sliding-scale cost — to all 82,000 uninsured San Francisco residents, regardless of income, immigration status or pre-existing medical conditions.

The $196 million program will be predominantly funded by redirecting existing Health Department resources, but The City is banking on $28 million a year to come from business owners who are not providing health care to their employees and approximately $56 million to be raised through sliding-scale monthly fees and co-payments from participants.

For example, under Healthy San Francisco, an uninsured city resident making $30,000 a year, working at a medium-size San Francisco company, would be asked to pay $25 per month for the program, and their employer would be required to contribute $187 per month.

Business leaders have protested the mandated spending, which requires all employers with 20 workers or more to invest $1.17 to $1.85 for each employee hour worked for health care. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Restaurant Association sued over the legislation, claiming the employer-spending mandate violates federal law. The lawsuit is still pending.

After next week’s limited launch, The City will begin a broader rollout of Healthy San Francisco in September, mostly with current Department of Public Health clients. In January 2008, full enrollment will begin.

beslinger@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors hosted a media Welcome Back conference to discuss the safety protocols and amenities when fans return for a basketball game on April 23rd at Chase Center on April 13, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

People came out in numbers to memorialize George Floyd, who was fatally shot by police, outside San Francisco City Hall on June 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD prepares for possible protests as Chauvin trial continues

Police to schedule community meetings, provide officers with crowd control training

Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that with other counties moving ahead with expanding vaccine eligibility “we want San Franciscans to have the same opportunity.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Everyone in SF ages 16 and up is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to everyone ages… Continue reading

San Francisco Park Rangers have seen their budget and staffing levels increase significantly since 2014. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Citations for being in SF’s public parks after midnight soar

Data shows disproportionate impact on Black residents

Central City SRO Collective tenant leader Reggie Reed, left, and Eddie Ahn, executive director of Brightline Defense, were among those distributing environmental awareness posters throughout the Tenderloin, Mid-Market and South of Market neighborhoods. (Courtesy Central City SRO Collaborative)
Environmental dangers are connected to racism

Let’s attack problems with better policies, greater awareness

Most Read