How ‘Healthy San Francisco’ Matters – and Doesn’t – in Obamacare

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Fernando Gomez-Benitez, deputy director with San Francisco’s Mission Neighborhood Health Center, is being trained to help enroll San Franciscans in Medi-Cal or Covered California. Photo by Angela Hart/KQED

By Angela Hart, KQED

Government shutdown temporarily aside, effective Jan. 1, 2014, most people need to carry health insurance or pay a fine. It’s called the “individual mandate.”

If you’re signed up with Healthy San Francisco, there’s one very important thing you need to know: Healthy San Francisco is not health insurance. So, it’s not going to get you off the hook for that individual mandate.

A little background: In 2007, San Francisco leaders spearheaded the implementation of universal health care for the city’s estimated 82,000 people who lack health insurance. The idea was to give people access to a range of medical services, including primary care. Participants choose a provider, or “medical home,” from a list exclusively in San Francisco. In the years since, 60,000 people have enrolled.

“We are a leader in delivering health care,” said Barbara Garcia, the director of health for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “We created Healthy San Francisco to provide care for everyone regardless of their immigration status, their income level, or their health issues.”

Read the complete story at KQED News.