S.F. Supervisors Grant Preliminary Approval to Health Care Law Change

On Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved legislation to adjust regulations governing how employers recover their workers' unused health care funds under the Healthy San Francisco program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The board passed the plan -- co-sponsored by David Chiu, the board's president, and Supervisor Malia Cohen -- in a 6-5 vote.

The vote is one of two needed for passage. The Chronicle reports that final approval is expected next week.

Mayor Ed Lee (D) has expressed support for the measure (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).

Background

Employers participating in Healthy San Francisco must spend a certain amount of money on health coverage for each hour employees work.

About 860 employers in the city set aside funds in health reimbursement accounts. Employers can recoup any funds that are not used within a year.

In 2010, businesses contributed $62.5 million to the health reimbursement accounts. Employees used $12.4 million of those funds, and employers recovered the rest.

A plan by Supervisor David Campos would have required employers to wait 18 months after a worker left a job before recovering the money. Lee vetoed that plan, saying it imposed "an overly broad approach to solving a discrete set of issues" (California Healthline, 10/26).

Details of Plan From Chiu, Cohen

The new measure would let individual employees accrue up to two years of unused funds in their health reimbursement accounts.

It also would remove a provision that takes away unused funds from workers. Employers' funds would have to be available for workers when needed (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).

Reaction

Business groups support the legislation.

Labor leaders criticized the plan, saying it does not go far enough to protect workers.

Opponents of the measure said they will seek to place the issue before voters (Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner, 11/15).


to share your thoughts on this article.