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Name: Borzi, Phyllis
Current Position: Previous Assistant Secretary
As head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in the U.S. Department of Labor, Phyllis C. Borzi not only oversees issues related to pensions and retirement plans, but also will help enforce part of the health care reform law as it pertains to businesses. She was confirmed by the Senate on July 10, 2009, and sworn in three days later..
A Democrat with pro-employee sympathies, Borzi is said to be respected by Republicans and employer groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is also the nation’s leading expert on the law that governs workplace benefits, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
A native of New York state, Borzi earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1968 from Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, New York, her Master of Arts degree in English in 1970 from Syracuse University and her JD in 1978 from Catholic University Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the law review.
She began her professional life as a high school English teacher.
From 1979 to 1995, Borzi served as pension and employee benefit counsel for the House Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations (part of the Committee on Education and Labor). In 1993, she served on working groups dealing with insurance reform, workers’ compensation and employer coverage Hillary Clinton's Presidential Task Force on Health Care Reform.
From 1995 to 2009, Borzi was a research professor in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University Medical Center’s School of Public Health and Health Services. In that position, she was involved in research and policy analysis involving employee benefit plans, the uninsured, managed care, and legal barriers to the development of health information technology. She was also co-director of the university’s Hirsch Health Law and Policy Program.
During this same time, she also worked at the Washington, DC, law firm of O’Donoghue & O’Donoghue LLP, specializing in ERISA and other legal issues affecting employee benefit plans, including pensions and retirement savings, health plans, and discrimination based on age or disability.
Following the 2008 presidential election, Borzi led the EBSA review for President Barack Obama’s transition team.
Borzi is a charter member and former president of The American College of Employee Benefit Counsel and served on its board of governors from 2000-2008; former member and former co-chair of the advisory board of the Pensions and Benefits Reporter; former member of the advisory committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; former member of the advisory board of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and former member of the board of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. In 2008, she was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and served as a public member of the administrative committee for the Goodyear retiree health trust.
Borzi has published numerous articles on ERISA, health care law and policy and retirement security issues and has been a frequent speaker to legal, professional, business, consumer and state and local governmental organizations. An active member of the American Bar Association, she is the former chair of the ABA’s Joint Committee on Employee Benefits.
Assistant Secretary Biography (U.S. Department of Labor)
Lifting the Fog: Face to Face with Phyllis C. Borzi (by Doug Halonen, Pensions and Investments)
Obama Health Team Turns to Carrying Out Law (by Robert Pear, New York Times)
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