State and local health reform is alive and well.
The United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit ruled today for the City and County of San Francisco, and against the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which had sued to block the new Healthy San Francisco program, and particularly, the employer contribution provisions.
According to Judges Alfred T. Goodwin, Stephen Reinhardt, and William A. Fletcher: “We hold that ERISA does not preempt the Ordinance.”
Many opponents of health reform, including SB2, Prop 72, SB840, AB8, AB x1 1, and other efforts, have cited the ERISA bogeyman. This decision is the highest and most affirmative ruling yet that there are ways for states and localities to address health reform, including employer-based coverage, without being preempted by the federal ERISA law.
Once again, California leads the way. More to come!
UPDATE: Here’s a piece in the San Jose Mercury News. We’ll write more later