About Healthy San Francisco

Instituted by Mayor Gavin Newsom and based on a plan initially proposed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, Healthy San Francisco is a universal health care initiative based around preventative medicine that has treated over 100,000 city residents otherwise ineligible to for Medicare or Medi-Cal, regardless of factors like pre-existing conditions or parents' immigration status. Anyone with an annual income under 500 percent of the poverty line can access the program. It currently serves 55,000 San Franciscans--about two-thirds of all uninsured residents.

A recent survey of participants found 94 percent were satisfied with the treatment they received though Healthy San Francisco.

Even though Healthy San Francisco's backers are proud of their service, they insist it isn't for everyone. "If you have insurance, do not drop it," reads a post on the program's website. "Insurance is always a better choice because Healthy San Francisco has limited services and places you can go to get medical care.

The cost of Healthy San Francisco is split between the city, which pays about $100 million, and a little under $80 million kicked in by local businesses. The 2007 law that created the program mandated that all businesses with over 20 employees (and non-profits with more than 50) had to either provide health insurance for their workers, pay into a city-operated health care fund or contribute to health savings accounts based on the size of the business and the number of hours worked by each employee.