Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Good start

Hey, health care, what a great idea!

SAN FRANCISCO - The city would offer health care to any adult resident, regardless of immigration or employment status, under a plan announced Tuesday...

...The city estimates the plan would cost $200 million a year, an expense that would be borne by taxpayers, businesses that don't already insure all their workers, and participants themselves.

Residents would pay both monthly fees and service co-payments on a sliding scale depending on income. A person with annual earnings at the federal poverty line would pay $3 per month, while someone who makes between $19,600 and $40,000 — or up to 400 percent above the poverty line — would pay an average of $35 per month.

Details of how the employer contribution would work were scheduled to be presented Wednesday to the Board of Supervisors. Approval is expected, though the details could change.

The most recent version, sponsored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, would require every business with more than 20 employees to pay $1.60 an hour into the system for all employees not already covered by a health plan, no matter how few hours they work.

The plan sounds about as good as what I'm getting at the U. I think I'm paying about the same once it kicks in next month. On the one hand, I do get some out of the Twin Cities options (although I chose the one that doesn't have a lot, since I don't expect to use them); and on the other, I expect that they'll get less dealing with copays. I could be wrong, though.

Regardless, it's a great start; and one I'd like to see progress further.

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