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San Francisco's experiment with universal health care unpopular with businesses

Thursday, June 22, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition


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(NewsTarget) San Francisco city officials joined labor, nonprofit and business leaders in unveiling the "San Francisco Health Access Plan" Tuesday, a move that has invoked strong opposition by many in the business community there.

The plan was announced after San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano floated a proposal that would require businesses in San Francisco to provide health insurance to their employees. However, the new plan would not actually provide health insurance for employees; it would simply take money from local businesses to expand access to the public health program already in effect for low-income San Franciscans.

In a news conference, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said, "Rather than lamenting that we live in a country where 48.5 million Americans have no health insurance San Francisco is doing something about it." Furthermore, Newsom felt the plan could serve as a national model.

But first, it must overcome some major hurdles, one of which is the San Francisco businesses that feel the plan is a mistake. A major point of contention for business leaders is the $28 million annual gap that must be overcome if the plan is implemented. Ammiano has drafted legislation that would fill that gap by compelling businesses with more than 20 employees to pay a minimum amount per worker toward either private care or the San Francisco Health Access Plan. Critical legislation that would require private employers to participate has yet to pass.

One of the vocal opponents of the plan is the San Francisco Committee on Jobs, which represents large employers in the city. Executive Director Nathan Nayman said, "If the Ammiano legislation passes in its current form, businesses will go under and people will be laid off."

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