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Authors

Marea B. Tumber

Abstract

In 2017, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) State Innovation Waiver (§1332) will enable states to waive many of the ACA’s provisions and to develop their own creative solutions to reign in healthcare spending. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) was enacted to encourage employers to sponsor benefit plans and minimize potential conflicts with existing state laws. Because of ERISA, the regulation of employee benefit plans, including health plans, falls primarily under federal jurisdiction for about 131 million people. This Note explores the ways in which ERISA presents significant roadblocks to meaningful state level healthcare reform under §1332. State laws cannot directly refer to ERISA, nor influence the benefits, administration, or structure of an ERISA plan. Also, if a state law limits employer choices too much, it will likely violate ERISA. This Note proposes that ERISA needs to be waived, amended or repealed so that states can implement meaningful healthcare reforms under §1332.

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