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Court Rejects Challenge |to SF Health-Care Plan

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - An association of restaurant owners in San Francisco failed to block federally mandated health expenses for their employees after a ruling by the 9th Circuit.

The city recently passed the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, a health-care plan for low- to moderate-income citizens who are not covered under the Medi-Cal program.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association sued the city and county of San Francisco, claiming that the plan should be pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

The association objected in particular to the city payment plan, which required employers who did not meet spending levels to make up the difference with payments to the city.

Judge Fletcher agreed with the district court that the city payment plan did not unlawfully constitute an ERISA plan.

"An employer has no responsibility other than to make the required payments for covered employees and to retain records to show that it had done so," the judge wrote.

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