A head Labor Department official said Monday that the department cannot provide as much clarity or answer questions about the Affordable Care Act as people are seeking due to elements of the law.

Speaking at the International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans Washington Legislative Update at the Capital Hilton, Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary for employee benefits security, acknowledged that those in the audience — mostly multi-plan trustees — are struggling with how to implement the ACA and although the DOL is working with them “these are very, very difficult issues because the statute is so unforgiving in a number of areas.”

Borzi, who is in charge of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, said that many times people come into the department’s offices to talk about the law and want to put aside the statute during the conversation. “We can’t do that,” Borzi said. “It’s only when the statute gives us some wiggle room and often it does not.”

Further, she said often when the U.S. Government is sued about the law, many of the cases accuse the government of exceeding its legal authority so “we are very cautious about not exceeding our legal authority,” Borzi said.

However she said the department remains committed to helping people as they figure out how the law will impact their plans. “We are not there yet,” she explained, “any of you wondering what will happen, I wish I could give you some clarity … but we do understand how important your plans are.”

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access