A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin wants to keep the federal government from providing subsidies to Congress for purchasing health care coverage through the federal exchange system.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Green Bay Monday by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). It seeks to challenge a ruling issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management last October., which cleared the way for the federal government to provide a subsidy for members of Congress and their staff who buy health insurance through a marketplace. Johnson says that amounts to special treatment for Congress, which lost its employer-sponsored coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Johnson called the decision “completely unfair” because Congress already took a pass on allowing federal lawmakers and their staff when they were originally debating the provisions of Obamacare. He says if members of Congress or the Obama Administration have a problem with what is now the law of the land, they should pass legislation to change it, rather than trying to bypass the law through “presidential fiat.”
The lawsuit is drawing fire from both sides of the aisle, with even a fellow Wisconsin Republican taking aim at it. U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) labeled the effort an “unfortunate political stunt.” In a statement released over the weekend, Sensenbrenner argued that he is committed to repealing Obamacare, but “the employer contribution he’s attacking is nothing more than a standard benefit that most private and all federal employees receive – including the President. Success in the suit will mean that Congress will lose some of its best staff.”
Johnson on Monday deflected that criticism. During a press conference on Capitol Hill, he argued that the lawsuit tackles a “very important Constitutional question” and the issue deserves a full airing.