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Michael Stoll's Blog

In 2007, San Francisco embarked on a rare and bold experiment, resolving to provide universal... more »
posted 12/28/11
The San Francisco Public Press, a startup news organization doing public-affairs reporting in the... more »
posted 03/15/11

Michael Stoll's Work

In 2007, San Francisco embarked on a rare and bold experiment, resolving to provide universal health care to its residents. Four years later, Healthy San Francisco has an enrollment of 54,000 people — between half and three-quarters of the estimated uninsured population. But the city has dug deep, and the program has earned less than expected from other sources. Can this ambitious program be sustained financially? The short answer, after a three-month investigation by the San Francisco Public Press: yes — but only if the economy picks up, federal grants continue to flow and businesses stop fighting health care mandates. The project, produced with the support of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, appeared in November at SFPublicPress.org and as the cover story of the Public Press' quarterly broadsheet newspaper edition.

Four years ago, San Francisco launched a grand experiment, becoming the first city in the nation to offer comprehensive health care to its growing ranks of uninsured.

A San Francisco requirement that businesses pay for their employees’ health needs has led to more workers having some form of health care. But after businesses initially stepped up to buy private health insurance for more of their workers, there has been a steady retreat.