By Eroding ERISA, House Health Care Bill Erodes Health Care

The Wall Street Journal has taken editorial notice of a letter sent by major trade associations — including the National Association of Manufacturers — and businesses objecting to the House health care legislation’s undermining of ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which governs business-provided health care plans that cross state lines.

As the Journal observes in its opinion piece, “Repealing Erisa—II,” the letter argues that to ERISA will end up reducing the numer of insurance options available to employers and employees. From the editorial:

Ms. Pelosi and allies like Henry Waxman don’t dispute that new Erisa standards are built into the bill but say most employers won’t have any trouble meeting them. “The House bill actually protects and increases employer-sponsored insurance,” reads another fact-check item. But why regulate what they admit is already working?

The reality is that once Erisa is broken the whole universe of business benefits will be distorted by Congress’s gravitational pull. For instance, some employers are trying to save on insurance costs by giving workers financial incentives to lose weight or exercise more. Pressure groups such as AARP and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are demanding that Democrats prohibit this practice as discriminatory. “If you give one person a discount, someone else is going to end up paying more,” an AARP lobbyist told Kaiser Health News. Well, yes. That’s the point.

The letter is available here.

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