The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed a district court decision to invalidate Maryland’s mandated health benefits law.This is one of those bizarre cases where I agree with the outcome but despise the reasoning and methods. The anti Wal-Mart bill proposed by Maryland was ill conceived, but Congress should not be able to interfere with state rule making.
“Today’s Appeals Court decision makes clear that employer health plans are governed by federal law, not a patchwork of state and local laws,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “The Court’s decision sends a strong message that similar bills under consideration in other states and municipalities also violate federal law,”
“Congress enacted ERISA, in part, to create uniformity in national health benefit plans,” said Stephen Cannon, outside General Counsel to RILA. “Differing state and local health benefit mandates would only increase health care costs and serve as a strong disincentive for employers to offer health coverage.
Maybe there is an equal protection clause argument, but the courts clearly didn't rule on those grounds and I'm not sure that such protections can (or even should) extend to corporations.
Either way, by fighting to eviscerated the Commerce Clause and give Congress nearly unfettered power liberals have shot themselves in the foot when trying to pursue progressive agendas at the state level.
I will continue to disagree with that progressive agenda, but it should be opposed by good arguments not federal fiat.