“Yesterday, Mrs. Pelosi railed against the evil ofinsurance companiesand yet today, we learn she has cut a secret deal to protect them!”
Shadegg: “It is wrong to give ERISA insurance plans immunity from damages when they hurt or kill someone and leave innocent employees and union members with no remedy for their injuries.”
Washington, D.C.– Today,Congressman John Shadegg(AZ-03) offered an amendment to the Democrats’health care bill(H.R.3200), specifically the provision on page 49 of the bill, Section 151(a)(2), which provides immunity to ERISAhealth care planswhen they deny coverage and the denial results in injury to or the death of an employee covered by the plan.
In 1974, Congress passed theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act(ERISA), a federal law which the United States Supreme Court has ruled provides immunity to an ERISA health plan in the event of negligent or wrongful denial of coverage.
Buried in the Democrats’ health care bill is a provision that does not correct this injustice but extends ERISA immunity to new plans sold outside of their new Exchange.
“Your doctor may recommend that you receive certainhealth care treatment, but with the stroke of a pen, an ERISA plan can deny coverage for that treatment. And, if you are injured or killed because of that denial, the plan can walk away. The Democrats’ bill not only doesn’t fix this injustice, it preserves and extends it.
“While excessive lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, andother health care providersadd millions of dollars to the cost of health care in America ,Nancy Pelosiand Democrats in Congress have rejected every single attempt attort reform. But, in their bill they extend immunity to ERISA plans for wrongfully denying coverage, even when the denial is willful and results in the death of a child as it did inCorcoran v. United Healthcare, Inc.
“Someone needs to ask, ‘Do the unions who support this bill know it leaves their members unprotected? Does theAmerican Medical Association(AMA) know it is supporting a bill that lets doctors be sued but not ERISA plans?’”
In cases where “immunity” exists, there is no accountability and plans are encouraged to deny coverage. Mrs. Pelosi viciously attacked America ’s insurance industry yesterday, yet buried in the very bill she has demanded Congress pass is blanket immunity which leaves innocent people with no remedy for their injuries.
Repeal ERISA Immunity Amendment
Representative John Shadegg(AZ-03)
·The United States Supreme Court has ruled that theEmployee Retirement Income Security Actof 1974 (ERISA) provides immunity for ERISA-governed health plans offered by self-insured employers in the event that the plan negligently or even in bad faith refuses to provide coverage to employees covered by such a plan.
·This immunity from damages under ERISA has resulted in plans wrongfully denying coverage and in an unknown number of injuries and deaths where the employee or employee’s family has been left without any remedy for such injury or death.
·While excessive lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers add millions of dollars to the cost of health care in America , it is wrong to give ERISA insurance plans immunity from damages when they hurt or kill someone and leave innocent employees with no remedy for their injuries.
·H.R. 3200 not only does not repeal immunity, it actually preserves and extends this immunity to plans not offered through the Exchange.
·The Congress can and must fix this injustice before a single additional American is hurt and left with no remedy.
·This amendment extends state law rights and remedies to individuals covered under such plans.