SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A health care plan for San Francisco’s low-income residents withstood a challenge from a coalition of small-business owners, after the Supreme Court refused to review a 9th Circuit decision upholding the city’s requirement that employers pay into the program or provide workers with health insurance.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case marks the end of a four-year legal battle brought by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which sued the city in 2007.
The association had claimed that the city’s mandate that restaurant owners share the burden of their employee’s health care costs by contributing to Healthy San Francisco violated federal laws barring state and local interference with employee benefits.
Created in 2006, the program provides health care to the city’s uninsured. The city stipulates that businesses with at least 20 employees that do not already provide health insurance must give a portion of each worker’s wages to the city to pay for the program.
The 9th Circuit rejected the restaurant owners’ argument, finding the fees did not violate the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The Supreme Court on Monday turned down the business owners’ appeal without comment.