Reporting Barbara Taylor
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A Measure to close a loophole in San Francisco’s health care ordinance will go before the full city’s Board of Supervisors next Tuesday.
On Friday legislation by Supervisor David Campos to close the loophole was passed out of a sub-committee. Workers testified at a hearing that their employers have an incentive to make those reimbursement accounts difficult to access.
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The Healthy San Francisco program allows employers to either provide health- care coverage to their workers or pay into a health reimbursement account.
Employers can reclaim money left in those accounts at the end of the year, but the Campos amendment would change that.
“Where I am now, I’m still told these benefits don’t exist. None of my co-workers know and they are scared to come forward. That’s why it so important to close this loophole,” testified one of the workers during the hearing.
Steve Falk, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, said closing the loophole as currently proposed would cost employers $50 million a year, including unused health care funds that would remain in workers accounts, and eliminate 30,000 jobs in San Francisco.
“You have to decide whether we need a sledgehammer to close the loophole or can we find a mechanism to create a safety net that has always been intended,” Falk said.
A majority of the board is expected to sign on as co-sponsors on Tuesday when they consider Campos’ amendment, but Mayor Ed Lee is preparing his own legislation to deal with the proposal and does not support the current plan.
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