A lawsuit brought against Healthy San Francisco’s mandatory health care rules has been sent to U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

The move is significant because the Court has asked the Solicitor General to prepare a brief on the federal government’s interest in the case, which should reflect the Obama administration viewpoint.

The Bush administration had opposed Healthy San Francisco, but the Obama administration is likely to diverge.

“Instead of just talking about health care, mayors like Gavin Newsom in San Francisco have been ensuring that those in need receive it,” Obama said in a February 2009 meeting of mayors.

The Supreme Court has yet to decide if it will hear the case.

Mission District and Bernal residents represent 11 percent of the 46,  847 people enrolled in Healthy San Francisco, according to its September report.

In 2006, San Francisco adopted its program requiring many employers – those with more than 19 workers – to set aside money for health care or provide it outright.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association filed suit in November 2006, saying that the requirement was preempted by the 1974 Employment Retirement Income Security Act, commonly called ERISA. The U.S. District Court for Northern California found the city’s requirement invalid, and the city appealed.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then allowed the city to go ahead with its requirement in January of 2008, and by September it reversed the District Court ruling.

In March of 2009, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, and this latest move reflects at least some interest.

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Anrica is a science reporter and twice Cal grad, with a degree in engineering and a master of journalism. She's a Bay Area native and lives in Oakland. She's enjoyed wide-ranging professional endeavors, including shoveling manure, researching human signaling proteins, volunteering in a leprosy hospital, using an atomic force microscope, and modeling the electricity grid.

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