Community Health Investments Trending Down
In the last two decades, San Francisco’s government per capita spending on community health as a percentage of the general fund has remained relatively constant (even adjusting for inflation). This is evident in the screenshot from the California Common Sense San Francisco data transparency portal, a series of interactive data visualizations that help San Franciscans understand the city government’s finances.
Between 1993 and 2001, community health was a higher percentage of general fund expenditures, largely because of investment in the San Francisco Community Health Network. This can be seen using CACS’s detailed SF expenditures visualization. Based on the available expenditure data, it appears that spending on this program began in the early 1990s and then was cut when the dot-com bubble busted.
Furthermore, the detailed SF expenditures visualization reveals that the San Francisco medical examiner budget was cut in 2006, partially explaining the more recent decline in spending on community health. In general, investments in community health, which had increased as a percentage of the general fund in the 1990s, have returned to their 1991 levels since then.
It is worth noting that while spending stayed flat, the scope of public health responsibilities dramatically expanded with the creation of Healthy San Francisco, the city’s own universal health care plan.