Calling for an Oversight Hearing on Kaiser's HIV Drug Cost Increase

According to a report published in the Bay Area Reporter, Kaiser Permanente recently began requiring people living with HIV/AIDS to pay a percentage of the cost their drugs, instead of a copay amount. Last year, the copay amounts for generic drugs was $35, and the copay for brand name drugs was $50. While these copays remain for most drugs, Kaiser created a tier of drugs called “specialty drugs” where patients also pay 20% of the cost of those drugs. This is part of a growing trend for insurance companies to move certain drugs, including HIV drugs, to a specialty tier.  The result is that patients may have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for their HIV medication. I will be holding an oversight hearing on this issue to address this decision and how it impacts our residents living with HIV, as well as to explore solutions that will reverse this trend of increasing medical costs. 

You can read coverage of the issue in the Bay Area Reporter here.

Passing the Urban Forest Master Plan

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed my legislation to adopt the Urban Forest Master Plan. The Plan, which establishes polices and strategies to manage and grow the city’s street tree population, makes a key finding that the city’s current program of transferring street tree maintenance responsibility to property owners is a short-sighted solution and ultimately to the long-term detriment of street trees and the city as a whole. This legislation is a key step in fixing our broken street tree system and ensuring the long term sustainability of our urban forest. 

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Vaccinating Our Children

The current spread of measles has made clear the dangers of allowing children to go unvaccinated. There is no scientific basis for not vaccinating our children, and the risk we take on by allowing this to happen is a public health problem. I'm supportive of Senator Richard Pan's proposed legislation to remove the Personal Belief Exemption from the vaccination requirement, and I will be authoring a resolution at the Board of Supervisors in support of this legislation. We should be moving forward, not backwards, in our efforts to protect our children from the spread of disease.  

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Housing and Transportation Q&A in the Business Times

Recently, I sat down for an interview with the San Francisco Business Times to talk about housing, transportation and other issues affecting San Francisco. You can read the Q&A at the San Francisco Business Time website

Increasing transparency and public participation in our ballot measure process

Ballot measures play a critical role in our lawmaking process. Voters set policy on many issues of significance to our city's future, from housing to transportation to civil rights. Whether ballot measures are initiated by residents collecting signatures or by elected officials, our process should produce well-written measures that are vetted by the public through a transparent process.

I recently announced that I am working with our city attorney to draft a ballot measure reform proposal for submission to the voters that will increase transparency and public participation, stabilize wild fluctuations in the number of signatures required and provide backers with tools to improve their measures based on public feedback.

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Senior 'Bill of Rights' Unveiled

Next week, we're moving forward with groundbreaking anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT seniors residing in long-term-care facilities in San Francisco -- the first legislation of its kind in the nation.

This proposal is a strong first step to ensure that our LGBT elders -- a growing population that built this community and brought us where we are today -- are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. One of the key findings of the LGBT Aging Task Force, which made policy recommendations last year, was that LGBT seniors residing in these facilities are at increased risk of discrimination, stigmatization, and even being pushed back into the closet. While many senior facilities do excellent and culturally competent work with LGBT seniors, other do not. I look forward to our continuing conversation and work around the needs of seniors.

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Groundbreaking legislation – as recommended by the LGBT Aging Task Force – will prohibit discrimination against LGBT seniors residing in long-term care facilities.

San Francisco – At next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos will introduce the “LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights.” The ordinance originated as a recommendation from the LGBT Aging Task Force’s policy report, “LGBT Aging at the Golden Gate,” and will make it illegal to discriminate against patients in long-term care facilities based on their sexual orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression or HIV status.  The legislation spells out what constitutes discrimination against LGBT seniors in these facilities.

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Analysis by Budget and Legislative Analyst shows that a discrete population of long-term HIV survivors are approaching age 65, at which point their private disability insurance will end, leading to a significant drop in income and resulting housing instability

San Francisco – At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will call for a hearing to discuss the expected financial needs created by the increase of people living with HIV/AIDS who will lose their private disability insurance as they become eligible for Social Security benefits. The Budget and Legislative Analyst recently released a report quantifying the number of people estimated to be impacted and the financial support needed.

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Resolution introduced at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in support Assembly Bill 96, co-authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, which would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in California.

San Francisco, CA – Yesterday, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors in support of Assembly Bill 96, which would strictly prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in California.  Supervisor Katy Tang co-sponsored the resolution.


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Scott Wiener Elected Chair of Transportation Authority Board

page-0.jpgCommissioner assumes leadership post as agency celebrates 25 years

San Francisco, CA—The San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board today elected Commissioner Scott Wiener chair for 2015.  Created by voters in 1989, the Transportation Authority administers the ½ cent transportation sales tax and serves as congestion management agency for San Francisco.  The agency is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

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