This article talks about a federal law that could indeed make it difficult for state mandates to include employers being taxed for health insurance a potential road block...it could all be undone in court..and if that is the case, where are we, back at square one? Also, we hear of so many stories about individual bankruptcies...as insurance costs keep rising for employers, will business bankruptcies start next if the cost of benefits prohibits the company from making a profit...BD
Oakland, Calif. - The biggest name in healthcare reform isn't Hillary, or Mitt, or Arnold it's ERISA. That's the name of a federal law that could invalidate many of the budding efforts by states and cities to expand access to healthcare. ERISA, which stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, shields businesses from state and local regulation of the benefits they offer workers, including health insurance. Without the law, national companies in particular could achieve little uniformity in their benefit plans.
In California, Governor Schwarzenegger has followed Mr. Romney's consensus-building approach. The plans floating around the capitol call for businesses to pony up more money, however, raising the risk that a deal will be undone in court. The National Federation of Independent Businesses says it needs to see the outcome, but the group is weighing a lawsuit.
Tapping employers to cover more workers, or to contribute to a healthcare pool, is one of the most attractive means for cash-strapped cities and states to reduce the ranks of the uninsured. After the ruling in the Maryland case, adding businesses to the equation looked a lot harder.
But that uniformity comes at a cost: The law limits the abilities of state legislatures to serve as laboratories for healthcare solutions. Courts have already applied ERISA to strike down efforts in Maryland and Suffolk County, N.Y., that would compel employers to cover more people.