"Health" Fee: San Francisco Restaurants Ask Customers to Pay for Healthcare

The next time you eat in a restaurant in San Francisco, take a closer look at the bill. You may see a new line item there, a "health" fee to cover employees' healthcare.

Travel writer Ed Perkins of Chicago Tribune wasn't amused:

The rationale for this one is to cover the employers' mandatory contribution to the City's "Healthy San Francisco" health-coverage system. The charge actually is levied on employers, but at least some restaurants are adding a few dollars or percentage points to each customer's bill to cover this charge.

The restaurants' excuse for assessing this charge separately is to let customers know how much they're paying for employees' health coverage. That's the same excuse hotels use when they add "resort" or "housekeeping" fees to unsuspecting guests' room bills. It's the same excuse airlines would use to exclude fuel surcharges from their advertised fares if the Department of Transportation would allow them. And it's sheer nonsense. Employees' health insurance is no less of a cost of doing business than rent, property taxes, food costs, security services and all the other inputs businesses require to operate. To single out health care for a separate surcharge is unwarranted.


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My wife and I dine out a lot, here's what we do. When the bill comes we circle the Health tax addition to let the server/bartender know, then we just deduct it from the tip, there is no reason that they should get both a full tip and their medical paid at the same time in an economy where many can't afford medical care.
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So, I am forced to buy something for my waitstaff that I can't afford myself?

Is this like how I am forced to pay taxes to provide public housing to those the govt favors which is nicer than where I live because I can afford no more due to excessive taxation??? The other day I saw a nice new range being carted into subsidized housing, I never owned a stove that nice and yet I have to help pay for one for someone else.

No wonder people are starting to lose it and go postal against the system.
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Dragonflye, the difference between US and other countries is that people elsewhere are ready and willing to turn everything over to the government on the assumption that the government is acting in their best interest. The US population has always had a distrust and a simmering anger regarding government, taxes, etc. The thought of the US taking our money and using it to run a healthcare system infuriates some people because it's another instance of the government assuming MORE control over the populace.

(I could care either way. Like the person you talked to - I have healthcare, and I put half my pay into savings with a local credit union in case of an emergency, so I'm not worried. Those other 50 million can fend for themselves.)
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Pyrit wrote: Employers in other countries pretty much don't need to worry about the cost of staff health insurance, where all citizens are covered anyway.

So way off base. In France, where health coverage is supposed to be a model for Americans to follow, your payslip is so full of deductions for all the ''free'' help the govt ''offers'', it's depressing.

If I earned 100 euros, 20 - 25 of that went to pay for health care (that I was not entitled to myself because I worked part-time) of the working French, indigents, illegal immigrants and the perpetual unemployed, French or not.

My employer paid the govt about twice what I paid in each pay period.

In France, when you hire someone, you pay that person a salary, for example, and you pay about the same, if not more, to the govt for that same employee each and every month! And you can't fire them unless you can justify a fault on their part, most of the time.

So, if you hire someone for 2000 euros a month, you are, in fact, committing to at least another 2000 on top of that each month.

To write that employers don't worry is insane. They do worry and they do pay. Universal coverage works okay in SMALL countries with a limited population to maintain. But the USA is 300 million plus. Can you not see the burden that imposes on American citizens?

Yes, CITIZENS. Because the money that the govt spends comes from US, not some magic bank acct somewhere. US, you and me.

Can you imagine having to pay for all the people you know who don't pay or won't pay or can't pay? Immigrants who hijack ER resources and leave the debt for US? People who will think going to the doctor is ''free'' and abuse the system because they can? (It's so common in France; human nature is what it is.)

It's a wonderful wish to see everyone covered but it should NOT be done on a federal level. Hell, I live in Hawaii now and the darn state govt takes more out of my pay than the feds because they force you to pay for health and social services for everyone.

Temporary help is totally understandable - life happens. But to provide life-long care for people who can't, don't or won't give into the system is committing financial suicide. Who is going to cover the debt? The govt? Yeah, right. By taxing US.

Be prepared to PAY for your desire to be like Japan or France or Germany. Health care is never free. Someone pays. Always.

And don't assume that because places like Japan or S Korea have universal coverage that the care they all get is exemplary and that the citizens there never abuse the system.

I work with people from one of those countries and they go get acupuncture treatments that last for weeks for illnesses that would be easily cured with Western medecine in 2 days. They get excuses from work for things like ''low energy'' and ''indigestion''.

In France, in larger cities, there are doctors who are well-known for handing out excuses like candy. It's disgraceful.

My own doctor there had to work until 9pm almost every evening and open up by 7:30 in the morning to handle the patient load. AND do house calls. People there go to the doctor sometimes for nothing. They want to get their paracetemol for free, so they go to the doctor to get a prfescription rather than just going to the pharmacy and paying out of pocket, for heaven's sake.

It's great when you really are sick. But the waste and abuse is nearly unchecked. And someone pays for all of it. The citizen who works hard for a living.
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it is NOT a right, if you are going to force a business with a tax, why not show the public who is going to pay for it in the end. now that is universal
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