SF Healthcare Tab Lands on Diners' Checks

Restaurateurs balk at measure to fund universal coverage
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2008 5:45 PM CDT
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was partner in several restaurants before being elected.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, file)
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(Newser) – Sweeping new health care legislation requires all San Francisco businesses with more than 20 employees to contribute to their health insurance—and restaurant owners are suing over the new burden, the Los Angeles Times reports. Owners say the fees cut into already-low profit margins; diners, who are seeing some of the cost added to their tabs, don’t seem to mind as much.

"If we make it difficult for restaurants to keep affordable prices—not just for the high-end tourists—then we're going to see less tourism," one restaurant consultant predicts. But mayor Gavin Newsom says the city will stick with the policy, being watched by all levels of government. "No one argues that our program is perfect, but it's better than anywhere else," he says.