According to figures released by the controller's office in February, enrollment in Healthy San Francisco went from 34,019 in December 2008 to 49,359 in December 2009. During the same period, new patient wait time for an appointment at a Department of Public Health primary care clinic -- which, along with certain nonprofit clinics, act as entry points to the Healthy San Francisco program -- has gone up. During 2009, average wait time jumped from 18 days to 29 days.
For people signing up for Healthy San Francisco, a group that tends to to be sicker and older than the general population, the program has been well-received.
According to an August, 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation study:
If one were to extrapolate from limited information about the San Francisco experience to the coming new national health care system, it's possible to imagine that hipsters will be quite happy that mom and pop's insurance will cover their fixie collisions, and other formerly uninsured Americans will be happy with their new coverage in years to come.
Participants in Healthy San Francisco report high levels of satisfaction and voice a resounding endorsement for the program. Ninety-four percent say they are satisfied with the program overall, and nine in ten say they would recommend the program to a friend.
doctors, and longer wait times," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. "The question is, how much do
we expand enrollments in medical schools? How much do we increase the number of foreign doctors we allow in the country?"Baker adds that America's revised health care system may end up needing tweaks down the road.
"I think they have done a good job of extending coverage to
people who otherwise would have had it. But you're going to have to do some
repairs on that. You don't want people to wait for needed care," he said.The statistics from the Controller's office suggest something similar could be said for San Francisco.