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Mayor Lee Reconstitutes Universal Healthcare Council

Council to Provide Recommendations on Implementing Federal Affordable Care Act & Ensure Access to Quality Health Care for San Francisco’s Uninsured Residents

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today reconstituted the Universal Healthcare Council to examine San Francisco’s implementation of the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and engage stakeholders in identifying necessary local policies to support the implementation process. Mayor Lee appointed San Francisco’s Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia to lead the council.

“Implementing the Affordable Care Act is a top priority for San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “We are focused on enrolling residents in the Medi-Cal expansion and encouraging eligible residents to purchase affordable insurance via the Covered California marketplace. However, we also need to provide guidance to our local businesses about how the ACA integrates with our local policy – namely the Health Care Security Ordinance. This is a complicated policy issue, and I am thankful that Director Garcia has agreed to lead a data-driven process so we can make informed policy decisions.”

“San Francisco’s leadership in health care is a model for cities across the country,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Our city led the way toward universal access to quality care starting in 2008. Moving forward, San Francisco will again lead the charge to ensure health care remains a right, not a privilege, for all Americans – and to make the Affordable Care Act a clear victory for America’s patients, workers, and middle class.”

Working closely with local stakeholders, the Universal Healthcare Council will meet regularly over a defined period of time, identify target populations and their health care access needs, and use data to formulate policy in implementing Federal health care reform.

“To ensure that we continue to have the quality health services and access to health care as we have had in San Francisco, it’s important we continue to engage and work closely with community, healthcare, labor and business stakeholders in implementing the Affordable Care Act,” said Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia.

In 2006, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom formed the Universal Healthcare Council to make recommendations on how the City and County could better serve the health needs of San Francisco’s 82,000 uninsured residents, in the absence of a state or federal insurance program. The recommendations led to the City and County of San Francisco’s creation of Healthy San Francisco, a universal healthcare access program in San Francisco that has served more than 116,000 residents since 2008. Thereafter, the Board of Supervisors passed the Health Care Security Ordinance, which established several employer health care-related obligations.

“Let me be clear that the City remains committed to supporting our universal access program – Healthy San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “Healthy San Francisco will be funded largely through our own general fund support in addition to the financial support of our many provider partners and will remain for those ineligible for federal benefits.”