Federal court gives SF green light in health care law enforcement

By Margarita Snegireva. Federal court ruled that a city program that provides health care to the uninsured and is partly funded by businesses can continue at least until a lawsuit challenging the program is resolved.

A lower court in December struck down key provisions of the program, dubbed Healthy San Francisco, which requires companies with at least 20 workers to provide health coverage or pay the city a fee to help offset the program's estimated $200 million price tag.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a powerful lobby, sued the city, arguing that the mandatory contributions the city sought placed a costly burden on members already struggling to make a profit.

A federal appeals court gave San Francisco the green light Wednesday to require employers to help pay for health care for uninsured workers and residents, and it signaled that it is likely to uphold the city's groundbreaking universal coverage law.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed San Francisco to enforce its law and extend coverage to all uninsured adults while the city appeals a federal judge's decision striking down a key funding provision.

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