| Healthy SF Moves Forward
By Tom Ammiano, D9 Supervisor Feb 15, 2008
I have very exciting news to report regarding the implementation of Healthy San Francisco (HSF). The City suffered a setback in December when a conservative judge struck down the employer mandate component of the ordinance. However, the 9th Circuit Appeals Court has since granted the City’s request for a stay, which allows us to go forward full speed with the implementation of this groundbreaking health care plan. The 9th Circuit panel, composed of three judges, unanimously agreed in a 35 page decision that the City has a “strong likelihood” of prevailing in its argument that HSF does not violate federal law. Additionally, the judges stated that the City should be able to enforce the employer spending requirement in order to prevent “avoidable human suffering”.
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The Court also noted that the “the general public has an interest in San Francisco residents and workers who handle their food and work in other service industries.” This is excellent news not just for San Francisco, but also for any other city or state trying to come up with innovative solutions to the health care crisis, because the earlier ruling could have invalidated any number of like-minded proposals throughout the nation. The latest ruling will allow 20,000 new members to enroll in HSF immediately. This is truly a victory for the working men and women of SF, and thanks go not only to the City Attorney’s office for their stellar representation, but to the SF Labor Council and the Community for their hard work in making HSF a reality.
There is good news and bad news about the St. Luke's Hospital closures. While St. Luke's has scheduled the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to close February 13, and have threatened to of closures and staff cuts in four other department, my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors are joining our fight to stop the closure of St. Luke's. Along with Supervisors Maxwell, Alioto-Pier, Mirkarimi and Sandoval, the doctors, nurses, service workers, and community members have been organizing to "Save St. Luke'". I hope you too will join this fight. This hospital is a key resource for the Mission and the whole South Eastern section of San Francisco. Other than General Hospital, St. Luke's is the only hospital providing medical services South of Market. CPMC, who owns St. Luke's, has failed to come through on their promises and continues to avoid making a commitment to the community they profit from, to keep their doors open. I will be working with my colleagues to develop a pledge that holds CPMC accountable for their promises for once and for all and will continue to fight to protect this vital hospital for our district and the surrounding areas.
I would like to thank Captain John Goldberg for his service to the Mission district, he will be missed. That said, the Mission has a new Police Captain, Tim Hettrich, who formerly served the department as head of the Narcotics Squad. I would like to welcome him to the district and look forward to working closely with him.
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