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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:09 PM
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Study finds S.F. health plan didn't hurt jobs

Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, August 21, 2009

San Francisco's first-of-its-kind universal health care program and its mandate that employers provide health care has not resulted in feared job losses, according to a new study by a UC Berkeley researcher.

Crunching quarterly data from the U.S. Labor Department, the researcher found that since the inception of Healthy San Francisco's employer mandate in 2008, the city's growth rate across all employment sectors was similar to or better than other Bay Area counties. While San Francisco saw its employment rate shrink due to the struggling economy, it actually shrank less than other counties.

This held true in retail, food service, restaurants and hotels, the sectors most strongly impacted by the health care ordinance because they traditionally have a lot of low-income workers and aren't as likely to offer health insurance as higher-paying industries.

"The San Francisco experiment is working, and it's working well," said Ken Jacobs, chair of the university's Center for Labor Research and Education. "There's no evidence of any impact of the ordinance on employment in San Francisco."

The statistics were unveiled Thursday as part of a push by big-name labor leaders and Mayor Gavin Newsom to hype Healthy San Francisco as a public option that's working - and that could be a model for the rest of the country as it remains mired in a heated debate over health care reform.

"The sky has not fallen - the world as we know it did not come to an end," said Newsom, adding the controversial policy didn't prompt businesses to leave, bureaucracies to sprout up or the city's economy to crater.

FULL story at link.

E-mail Heather Knight at .

This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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