Legal foes invited to weigh in on healthcare policy

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A few years ago, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association lost a legal battle it waged over the employer mandates in the city's landmark Health Care Security Ordinance, a universal healthcare program that has provided safety-net services for the city's uninsured since its passage in 2006, partially through the Healthy San Francisco program.

Composed of San Francisco restaurant owners, GGRA took issue with a mandatory employer spending contribution designed to help employees cover healthcare costs. While the city's flagship healthcare program ultimately emerged unscathed, the lawsuit went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and consumed city staff time and legal expenses.

Now that the federal Affordable Care Act is poised to begin, with enrollment in low-income programs starting in October, a new debate has surfaced over whether current employer requirements should stay the same under Obamacare. While ardent supporters of HCSO have urged the city not to make any drastic policy changes because the existing system can help low-wage workers take advantage of federally subsidized healthcare options, local business interests have signaled that they think it's time to scale back employer contributions.

In late August, representatives from the city's Department of Public Health sent out invitations to various stakeholders to join an advisory body called the Universal Healthcare Council, which will be charged with "reviewing local policies against the backdrop of the federal law." Despite the failed, messy legal battle that nearly undermined Healthy SF just a few years ago, and the more recent scandals involving restaurants fraudulently using customer surcharges and still stiffing employees (see "Check please," April 23), an invitation was sent to Rob Black, executive director of GGRA. For the sake of uninsured employees throughout San Francisco, let's hope the restaurant association doesn't have another lawsuit up its sleeve.

Comments

If ObamaCare means anything, it is surely an opportunity to migrate lower-value workers off business payrolls for healthcare and onto a system specifically designed for low-level enrollees.

This means not only moving people off vocational health benefits onto the state system but also reconsidering SF Healthy which was a rushed and unfair program.

I now tip 4% less because of SF Healthy, as many others do, but I would dearly love to restore my tips to the previous level of up to 15%. But ObamaCare has to take over these workers first.

Hey, liberals wanted this and now liberal have it. Let's move forward with it.

PS: Joe Lieberman retains a special place in my heart for nixing the public option - the rest of ObamaCare should work.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

The GGRA has its lawyers on this, the progressives seem to think that they can beat these lawyers to the punch and get the owners to do their bidding.

The small business owners will be consulting lawyers, the progressives will be wishful thinking.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

employee healthcare and that is paid for my each individual thru their own private insurance, then i may even have some use for ObamaCare.

Better profits for employers AND for health insurance companies. Great for stocks which, BTW, hit an all-time high today. Woo hoo!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

you now want the GGRA members to keep paying what is no longer a legal mandate?

That seems to be what your pushing for here.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:18 am

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