The head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which sued the City of San Francisco to halt an ordinance mandating employer-sponsored healthcare, said today that his group would appeal the decision.
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the city law requiring businesses with more than 20 employees to either provide a certain level of healthcare, or buy into a city health program. Kevin Westlye, the executive director of the GGRA, told MenuPages today that the group would appeal the decision one of two ways: They can appeal to the greater Ninth Circuit court, hoping to overturn yesterday’s decision by three judges, or they can go directly to the United States Supreme Court. Westlye said they would likely appeal en banc to the Ninth Circuit.
Westlye said today that the ordinance would place too big a burden on restaurant owners in the coming years, and would force some out of business. “Our members looked at this basically as a survival issue,” he said. Under the ordinance, many restaurant owners would be forced to double, and possibly triple, the amount they currently pay to cover their employees, Westlye said. “Restaurants are a thin-margin business… Ultimately, this will cost jobs, and it will cause some restaurants to close,” he said.
A spokesperson for San Francisco City Attorney Denis Herrera was not immediately available, but in an online statement, Herrera said he was “gratified” by the decision. “Unlike a more sweeping tax or fee, ‘Healthy San Francisco’ gives the vast majority of eligible employers credit for the health care coverage they already provide to their workers. At the same time, it gives those employers who don’t offer health coverage the flexibility to either add the benefit or pay a reasonable amount to enable the City to provide coverage.”
The Association has 10 days in which to file an en banc appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Court upholds legality of San Fran health care plan [SF Gate]
Appeals Court Upholds SF Healthcare Mandate [MenuPages SF]