Saturday, December 29, 2007

A (Mandatory) Harbinger?

[Welcome Bluegrass Institute readers!]

Some time ago, The City by the Bay enacted a little provision that requires employers to provide health insurance to their employees or face fines (Sound familiar?). While that may have seemed like a good idea at the time, turns out that it faces a non-trivial challenge:

It's illegal.

Says who, you ask?

Says US District Judge Jeffrey White, "who found that the city was intruding into federal regulation of employee benefits."


And that may become an even bigger oops: his "ruling Wednesday invalidating part of San Francisco's landmark attempt to extend health care coverage to all uninsured adult residents cast new doubt on the viability of a statewide program for covering the uninsured that is now pending in the Legislature."

Apparently, both the local and state laws have run into the mammoth buzz-saw that is ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act). Being a federal law, ERISA preempts such attempts by local and/or state governments. If this stands (and that may be a big "if"), look for the ripple effect to impact new efforts in Delaware, as well as current ones in The Bay State (how's that for irony?).

h/t: RedState
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