September 30, 2008
For additional information:
Jason Hammersla

Ninth circuit ERISA decision threatens health care coverage for millions of American workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — "The decision by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threatens to erode the essential federal framework for employer-sponsored health plans," said American Benefits Council President James A. Klein regarding today's ruling in Golden Gate Restaurant Association v. City and County of San Francisco.

For more than 30 years, America's voluntary employer-sponsored health care system has relied upon the federal standards provided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). "The ‘pay or play' mandate at the center of the San Francisco case directly threatens continuation of these plans, particularly for large, multi-state companies that rely on a uniform set of rules," Klein said.

"This decision opens the floodgates to every state and locality seeking to develop its own version of health reform, creating an impossible environment for major employers — and the millions of American workers who value their employer-sponsored health plans."

To arrange an interview with a Council staff member, please contact Jason Hammersla, Council director, communications, at or by phone at (202) 289-6700.

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Councils member's represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.