Business Group Opposes Changes To SF Universal Health Care Law

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce said they may not finance several campaigns on the November ballot if a supervisor’s proposal to change the Healthy San Francisco law passes.

Efforts to amend the law so that more workers use their health reimbursement accounts could wind up costing politicians counting on the business community to contribute, Chamber of Commerce president Steve Falk said Friday.

Most of the contributions San Francisco employers make to health reimbursement accounts for workers who live outside the city winds up unused. As it stands, some $50 million would ultimately be returned to the employer rather than being used by the employee on qualifying health expenses.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

“Closing this loophole is important to make sure that we can truly have meaningful universal health care,” said Supervisor David Campos, who has been trying without success to stop the take back.

His legislation to ensure those accounts remain open for 18 months after employees have moved on to another job.

Falk said businesses saddled with Healthy San Francisco costs were unlikely to contribute to campaigns for a variety of November ballot measures, including pension and health care reform.

“It will be very difficult to get the business community to write checks to support these measures when they’re going to have to write a $50 million check for health care that was a complete surprise,” Falk said.

The Chamber instead backs a more modest proposal by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu that would require employers to notify workers about their health benefits and ensure that one year’s worth of funds is in an employee’s account.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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