The “universal mental health care” bill is a little less universal in the form Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney proposed it Tuesday, but Mayor Breed still feels it goes too far.
Mayor London Breed, the Department of Public Health, and much of the City Hall bureaucracy are already taking heat over proposed bed cuts for mentally ill patients. The debate over how to treat the city’s mental illness crisis is probably going to get even more divisive. We had expected a universal mental health bill called Mental Health SF from Supervisors Matt Haney and Hillary Ronen, as announced in the spring and intended for the November 2020 ballot, but KGO reports that a new version they introduced Tuesday is not quite as universal, and would instead appear on the March 2020 ballot.
Mission Local has an extremely detailed analysis of the ‘new’ Mental Health SF bill, which calls for all manner of facilities, teams, and offices like a Mental Health Service Center, Office of Coordinated Care, and Mental Health Street Crisis Team. But a controversial provision that would provide care to people who are already privately insured has Mayor London Breed opposing the measure.
"I'm not in the business of using taxpayers dollars to subsidize private insurance companies and unfortunately that is what they are proposing to do," Breed told KGO. The opposition is not unexpected, since Breed’s office pulled out of talks on the bill last week.
As today’s Chronicle explains, the $100 million price tag for Mental Health SF would be paid for by an additional tax on any companies whose CEOs make 100 times more than their rank-and-file employees. But even if voters approve the measure, Mental Health SF would not even produce proposed logistical guidelines until May 1, 2021.
Nine of the 11 supervisors are on record as supporting Ronen and Haney’s measure, so Mental Health SF currently looks pretty certain to make that March 2020 ballot. That said, it still has a long journey, as Mission Local notes it doesn’t even have its first committee meeting until October 30.
Image: Allie_Caulfield via Flickr