The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s appeal of a 9th Circuit decision that permits San Francisco to levy a punitive tax on businesses to fund its public-health bureaucracy.
I’ve previously challenged research produced at UC Berkeley, which concluded that the ordinance did not cost jobs. Plus, I’ve noted the job-killing effects of the Healthy San Francisco program in a series of blog-entries (here, here, and here).
The GGRA had argued that the city ordinance violated ERISA, the federal law that regulates job-based benefits. But that is all water under the bridge. Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services has formed a (small and exclusive) mutual admiration society for government-run health care with Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, so this decision will surely be welcomed by her and all ObamaCare-backers.
Does this judicial failure to overturn a mandate in San Francisco allow us to handicap the success of the lawsuits against ObamaCare’s national mandate? Unlikely: The San Francisco lawsuit relied on a federal law, ERISA, whereas the anti-ObamaCare lawsuits rely on the U.S. Constitution.
Plus, ERISA is not really a very effective law, as I’ve written about previously. Strategically, it’s a weak foundation to rely upon, for those who advocate individual choice in health care.