San Francisco’s universal health plan garners court approval

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

The controversial San Francisco city plan to roll out universal health care coverage for residents won a huge victory when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the plan could go ahead. The court allowed the city to proceed with its plan to require all businesses with more than 20 employees to pay a fee to help cover health care costs.

The law had been scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, but a federal trial court ruled that the legislation conflicted with a federal law regulating employment benefits. The appeals court panel overturned that decision, concluding the ordinance was within the city’s power to enact.

The law requires employers with more than 20 employees to pay a minimum health care contribution of $1.17 to $1.76 per hour for each employee. The money can be used for private insurance, health savings accounts or payment into a new health program for the city called Healthy San Francisco.

Final note: The case isn’t over. Although the judges said the city could implement the plan because they believe the ordinance will be held constitutional, the lawsuit will proceed. Meanwhile, San Francisco employers must comply.

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