Mayor Ed Lee's first mayoral veto will be on health care issue 

Supervisor David Campos called on Mayor Ed Lee not to veto his legislation that was officially approved by the board in a second and final vote Tuesday that amends The City’s five-year old health care ordinance.

But Campos’ request will likely fall on deaf ears.

“Mayor Lee doesn't believe the legislation passed today will increase access to health care and does not protect jobs,” Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said after the board’s vote. “He is focused on closing the loophole, increasing access to health care and protecting jobs.  The mayor is continuing to work with President Chiu on legislation next week that can accomplish these goals. As for the final approval, the mayor has until Oct. 28 to consider this and is working on an alternative.”

Lee has 10 days to decide whether to veto the bill, sign it or return it unsigned, as he does with all legislation approved by the board.

The legislation was approved in a 6-5 vote. Lee won’t have any problems in vetoing the bill because it takes eight votes to override a mayoral veto.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who was the swing vote on the legislation, said she supported it because “it is most consistent with the original intention of the legislation that was enacted five years ago.” Cohen said that “it is definitely an effective way of closing the loophole that disproportionately impact low-wage workers, many of whom live inside District 10.”

The legislation prevents employers from taking back money each year placed into health reimbursement accounts, the way 860 businesses comply with The City’s health care law. A recent city study found 80 percent, or $50.1 million, set aside in these accounts went back to employers and was not spent on employees’ health.

Business advocates say jobs would be lost and businesses could even close if they were forced to take the $50 million annual hit.

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