U.S. Court hears arguments on City health plan,
Photo by Luke
By Julia Cheever
January 3, 2008
A federal appeals court panel heard arguments in Pasadena this
morning on a disputed funding measure in San Francisco's pioneering
health care program but made no immediate decision, according
to city attorneys.
City attorney's office spokesman Matt Dorsey said three judges
of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took the case under submission
after the arguments and did not say when they will rule.
But Dorsey said, "We expect they will act promptly today
The dispute is over a provision that would require employers
to contribute financially to San Francisco's universal health
care program for its 73,000 uninsured residents.
The spending mandate had been scheduled to go into effect Wednesday.
It was overturned last month by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White,
acting in a lawsuit filed by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera last week asked the 9th Circuit
to grant an emergency stay reinstating the spending mandate until
the court acts on the city's full appeal. Today's hearing was
on the bid for a stay.
The spending mandate would require employers with 20 or more
workers to pay a set amount per employee either by financing their
own health plan or by making payments to the city's plan.
The requirement would have provided a portion of money for the
program, but the majority of the financing is supplied by city,
state and federal funds.
City officials have said that without the employer contribution,
they will be able to expand the program to only about two-thirds
of the city's uninsured residents, or 47,000 people, within two
years, leaving another 26,000 without coverage.
White struck down the mandate on the ground that it conflicts
with a federal law regulating employee benefit plans.
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