Labor Department official: “tragedy” to enact health reform and leave ERISA alone

Paul Secunda blogs at Workplace Prof Blog about a talk given by Phyllis Borzi, who heads the Employee Benefit Security Administration. She knows whereof she speaks: she’s in the ERISA enforcement business, and her agency’s mission is to “deter and correct violations of the relevant statutes through strong administrative, civil and criminal enforcement efforts to ensure workers receive promised benefits.”

Phyllis Borzi got it right:

Borzi said it would it a tragedy if Congress passed health care reform legislation without addressing remedies available to plan participants under ERISA.

So did Professor Secunda:

I certainly agree with Sec. Borzi that the current state of ERISA remedies is a tragedy and that health care reform efforts need to consider addressing this remedial issue. I also agree that many employers and management-side attorneys have a knee-jerk reaction to defend that system because of favorable treatment under ERISA’s remedial and preemption provisions.

It is time for Congress to finally provide a meaningful remedy for ERISA violations.

True that.