ERISA reflected a bipartisan approach to employee benefits. It was enacted in 1974 during a Republican administration – President Ford – and became effective on January 1, 1975. Its lead legislative proponent was a liberal Republican Senator from New York, Jacob Javits. There had emerged a consensus during the 1960s that pension reform was necessary and ERISA was the product of negotiations largely between organized labor and management to deal with retirement issues. There was little, if none, political backlash after ERISA was enacted. 

The Affordable Care Act, meanwhile, arose in a more partisan environment. Unlike ERISA, where Democrats and Republicans worked jointly to produce legislation, the ACA was the by-product of a Democratic legislature and executive branch, with almost no Republican support. While health care is a national issue, there seems to be little political consensus as to how to address these issues. 

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