A Legislative and Political History of ERISA Preemption, Part 4: The ‘Deemer’ Clause

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Fall 2014


Shortly before the House of Representatives passed pension-reform legislation in February 1974, Congressman John Dent added the deemer clause as a means of thwarting state initiatives to regulate noninsured medical plans and legal-services plans. A close look at the clause’s origins raises doubts, however, about whether the deemer clause, by itself, could do what Dent wanted it to do. These concerns about the efficacy of the deemer clause appear to have been a major factor in Congress’s decision to adopt the sweeping general preemption language in ERISA Section 514(a).

Publication Title

Journal of Pension Benefits: Issues in Administration

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