It seems the local government in San Francisco is determined to drive as much business away from the city as possible. Legislation was introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Tom Ammiano to require all San Francisco businesses with 20 or more workers to pay for health care insurance:
The ordinance, submitted by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, would force businesses not offering medical coverage to their workers to set up health savings accounts and pay $345 a month per employee into them. Businesses would use the savings to buy health insurance for their workforce.
The $345 is what it costs the city government per month to cover each of its workers.
Under the legislation, a task force would be created to examine whether companies that say they can't afford the $345 a month should be allowed to pay a lower, unspecified fee directly to the city -- and the city would provide coverage or direct medical care.
Great. Just what businesses in the city need: another set of government forms to complete and another government audit to comply with, to determine if they can afford this new tax for doing business in SF.
Some people who actually know about running businesses think this may be a bad idea:
"Supervisor Ammiano calls his coverage 'universal,' but the only thing universal about the Worker Health Care Security Act is the universal damage it will do to San Francisco's economy," said Mike Flynn, director of legislative affairs for the Employment Policies Institute in Washington, D.C.
"Expanding insurance coverage is a laudable goal," Flynn added, "but you can't wave a wand and do it by legislative command. His proposal would slap San Francisco's businesses with staggering costs and lead to tremendous job loss among the city's least-skilled workers."
Nathan Nayman, the director of San Francisco's Committee on Jobs, a lobbying group for downtown business interests, echoed the point. "This is going to have a negative consequence on business in the city. There's just no doubt about it," Nayman said.
Jot Condie of the California Restaurant Association... said restaurants and other small businesses typically operate at small profit margins. If Ammiano's legislation passes, it would likely drive them out of town, he said. "The fact that it's a city proposal, the notion of flight from San Francisco and its tax base really is a relevant point."
Ammiano doesn't agree:
Businesses that offer health care for their workers have higher productivity, he said, and do better in the marketplace.
And there speaks someone who has never run a business in his life.
Hey Tom, if offering healthcare means higher productivity and doing better in the marketplace, why do we need legislation to force companies to implement it?
I’m from the government: let me tell you how to run your business