May 15, 2024


This September marks the 50th anniversary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA has been foundational in creating access to affordable health insurance for the 150 million Americans who get health care coverage from an employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) plan.

Why it matters: Most importantly, ERISA’s preemption provision allows employers to provide uniform and affordable ESI coverage to all employees across state lines rather than having to comply with a patchwork of 50 state standards.

This eases administrative and compliance burdens and adds a sense of equity, stability, and peace of mind for employers, employees, and their families.

What they’re saying: Ahead of ERISA’s 50th anniversary, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce issued a request for information (RFI) to key stakeholders on ERISA in January. Members of Protecting Americans’ Coverage Together (PACT) — a coalition of employer voices committed to strengthening the ESI system — took the opportunity to highlight the benefits of ERISA and thank committee leadership for their efforts to collaborate with employer groups to further protect ERISA.

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “We urge Congress to continue supporting ERISA preemption and to resist any efforts that may undermine the uniformity and efficiency that it brings to employer-sponsored benefit plans,” wrote Anna Vredenburgh, Director for Health Policy at the Chamber. “Maintaining a clear and consistent federal framework ensures the continued success of employer-sponsored benefit plans and supports the broader goals of economic growth and workforce stability.”
  • Council for Affordable Health Coverage: “ERISA is vital to keeping 150 million Americans healthy,” said Joel White, President of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage. “Congress must ensure its endurance by strengthening and protecting it from state overreach and erosion.”
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM): Charles Crain, Vice President of Domestic Policy at NAM, called ESI “the bedrock of the United States’ health care system.” Crain continued, noting that “manufacturers look forward to working with the Committee on its efforts to support and strengthen this landmark statute – aptly celebrating ERISA’s 50th anniversary by ensuring the law remains a catalyst for ESI participation and innovation for the next 50 years.”
  • Business Roundtable: Corey Astill, Vice President of Business Roundtable’s Health and Retirement Committee, emphasized that “Business Roundtable stands ready to work with members of the Education and the Workforce Committee to modernize ERISA to strengthen ERISA preemption, enhance flexibility, increase transparency, and improve affordability and sustainability.”

Bottom line: Employer leaders have made it clear that protecting ERISA underpins the accessible and dependable employer-sponsored insurance coverage that millions of Americans rely on. As the House Committee on Education and the Workforce considers its 2024 legislative priorities, PACT urges committee members to remember the value of the longstanding and successful ERISA model in providing accessible, affordable, and uniform coverage to employees and their families.

About the authors

Protecting Americans’ Coverage Together (PACT)

The Protecting Americans’ Coverage Together (PACT) is a coalition of leading business voices that are dedicated to strengthening the support of ESI for families that depend on this system for the physical and mental well-being. Its members include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, Council for Affordable Health Coverage, and Vermeer Corporation.

Read more