Chinese Immigrants First To Enroll in San Francisco Universal Health Care Program
Twenty-nine San Francisco residents on Monday enrolled in the Healthy San Francisco health initiative, which seeks to cover all 82,000 uninsured city residents within 18 months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The city began its enrollment campaign at two public health centers in Chinatown.
Under the $200 million annual plan, proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Tom Ammiano, uninsured residents are eligible to receive services within the San Francisco city limits. Proof of citizenship, employment or pre-existing conditions are not considered for eligibility, and participants will contribute copayments and quarterly premiums.
For July and August, only patients of the two Chinatown community clinics can enroll in the program. Qualified participants must have incomes less than 100% of the poverty level, according to the Chronicle. In September, low-income residents who receive health services through the San Francisco public health department or other city-supported community clinics will be eligible. By January 2008, the program will open enrollment to all adult city residents who are uninsured and do not qualify for other public health insurance programs.
A combination of public funds and the patients' fees will fund the program, and local business that currently do not offer health coverage to employees must make financial contributions to the program by Jan. 1, 2008. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has sued to block the financial contribution (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/3).