Newsom begins universal health care access without
Ammiano funding legislation
Frustrated supervisors urge merger of Ammiano
and Newsom plans into single legislation
By Pat Murphy
July 6, 2006
City departments will begin retooling immediately to provide
universal health care access in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom's
office reported Wednesday.
The move sidesteps full funding legislation developed by Supervisor
As early as today, Newsom will redirect City agencies now spending
$104 million annually of the projected $198 million full cost
to implement the San
Francisco Health Access Plan (SFHAP) agreed upon by a range
of stakeholders June 20.
The mayor's options include issuing an executive directive or
more formal reorganization of departments depending on City Attorney
advice, mayoral press secretary Peter Ragone told the Sentinel
Cost for broadening SFHAP to all eligible San Franciscans, an
estimate raised yesterday to 85,000 health care consumers, requires
additional funding over the $104 million now spent. The SFHAP
plan calls for an additional $56 million generated by user co-payments.
Estimates are based SFHAP enrollment by all 85,000 residents
eligible, however costs drop proportionately to smaller enrollment.
Based on full 85,000 enrollment, the Ammiano separate but parallel
measure, which requires employers to provide health care insurance
coverage for a larger number of employees, would raise the additional
Although labor and business leaders support SFHAP the level of
employer contribution remains in dispute. Newsom supports required
employer contributions, come to be known as 'the mandate.' Newsom
has not signed on to specific employer requirements of Ammiano's
Worker Healthcare Security Act (WHSA).
Even so, Newsom's head of the City Health Department yesterday
described WHSA as essential to SFHAP success.
"I believe from a health policy point of view that the Health
Access Plan cannot successfully go forward without the legislation
that Supervisor Ammiano is carrying as well," Dr. Mitch Katz
told a committee of the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Dr. Mitch Katz
"I do see them as two legislations that were meant to fit
together and do fit together. One can't succeed without the other."
And committee members expressing frustration with lack of funding
agreement yesterday urged merger of both measures into single
The Budget and Finance Committee will reconvene Tuesday at 10:00
a.m. to make that recommendation with WHSA amendments offered
Hours later the full Board of Supervisors could adopt the recommendation
at its 2:00 p.m. meeting.
The committee recommended WHSA amendments including:
-- Delaying employer contribution from July, 2007, to July 8,
-- Requiring the City Controller to report quarterly on WHSA
impact on the City budget, on the City's health care delivery
system, and on impact on the San Francisco economy.
-- Requiring a similar report from the City Labor Standards and