Members of Congress should think hard before trying to resolve conflicts over the Affordable Care Act by letting each state set its own group health rules.
Vanessa Scott, a benefits lawyer, makes that case in a new commentary on the idea that policymakers should be working to strengthen health benefits law uniformity, not weaken it.
Drafters of one of the major pieces of legislation that now shape the U.S. benefits market, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, tried to hold down employer health and retirement plan costs by exempting self-funded, multi-state plans from state benefits rules.
“Health care reform is clearly needed, but it should not disrupt the uniform administration of ERISA on a nationwide basis through mandates or other requirements, nor should it prioritize flexibility over preemption,” Scott writes in the paper, which was distributed by the American Health Policy Institute.
ERISA uniformity plays a vital role in helping employers to offer uniform benefits to employees on their dependents at a relatively low cost, Scott writes.
American Health Policy Institute
Tevi Troy, the executive director of the Washington-based institute, and Mark Wilson, the chief economist, held high-level insurance and benefits regulation posts in the administration of former President George W. Bush.