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Health Care Debate: The Industry Reaction

Yesterday, when a federal judge shot down an "innovative and groundbreaking" health care plan at the behest of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, strong emotions were stirred across the board. When it comes to the crux of the issue—employers providing health care for all employees at the risk of a penalty fee—valid and compelling arguments were made for both sides of the debate. Here are some of the reactions, from Eater and elsewhere:

From an anonymous chef: "It's a lose-lose situation. Whatever happens, someone's going to pay out the ass." [Eater Inbox]

The Pro-Ordinance Argument: "It is too bad employers don't want to be responsible. There are so many restaurant employees working long hours for very low hourly wages ... It sucks that a mandate was even proposed but that was due to small businesses not stepping up to the plate and doing something." [Eater Comments]

The Anti-Ordinance Argument: "SF is the most business-hostile City in the Country and whether the ordinance was well-meaning but ill-conceived or just more of SF political ignorance, makes no difference. The ordinance would have cost jobs and increased prices in SF restaurants, plan and simple." [Eater Comments]

Via the Chron, Gavin Newsom chimes in: "Newsom, a former restaurant owner, acknowledged it's awkward squaring off against the restaurant association in court. 'I'm intimately familiar with these types of businesses - I see the world through their set of eyes,' he said. But he added that without the mandate, employees lacking health insurance will likely continue getting health care in emergency rooms at taxpayer expense." [Chron]

From an anonymous insider: "I work for the organization overseeing the implementation of the Healthy San Francisco program. It is a big shame that this law suit happened between the city and the GGRA ... The good news is the employees of these restaurants can still enroll in Healthy San Francisco even though the GGRA won. What this means is the employer will no longer have to contribute money. Employees under 300% of the federal poverty level can still enroll and will pay a fee based upon their income ... The program isn't flawless but it is most certainly a positive step in the right direction for those who do not have access to healthcare." [Eater Inbox]
· IndustryWire: Restaurant Association Foils Health Care [~ESF~]