WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is filing a lawsuit that would force Congress and its staffers to purchase their insurance from the federal health care exchanges without exemptions carved out by the Office of Personnel Management.
Johnson is set to hold a press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The suit seeks to correct “special treatment being authorized for members of Congress and their staffs,” according to the senator’s official website.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Johnson alleges that the Obama administration has exceeded its legal authority for members of Congress by setting up federal subsidies for lawmakers and their staffs.
“The president and his congressional supporters have also broken their promise to the American people that Obamacare was going to be so good that they would participate in it just like everyone else,” Johnson wrote.
“In truth, many members of Congress feel entitled to an exemption from the harsh realities of the law they helped jam down Americans’ throats in 2010.”
The lawsuit rests on a ruling from the OPM which allows the government office to determine which staffers have to buy insurance from the exchanges and which also permits congressional members to continue receiving employer contributions from employer-based plans.
The exemption is rooted in the Small Business Health Options Program, which allows the employer – in this case the federal government – to purchase health insurance for its own employees.
“The OPM ruling forces me, as a member of Congress, to engage in activity that I believe violates the law. It also potentially alienates members of Congress from their constituents, since those constituents are witnessing members of Congress blatantly giving themselves and their staff special treatment,” Johnson wrote.
“If the president wants to change the law, he needs to come to Congress to have them change it with legislation, not by presidential fiat or decree.”
This comes as Johnson’s colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., amplified his frustration in trying to sign up for insurance, and that his son had received a Medicaid card by error.
“We didn’t try to get him Medicaid, I’m trying to pay for his insurance,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “But they automatically enrolled him in Medicaid. For a month, they wouldn’t talk to us because they said they weren’t sure he existed.”
— Benjamin Fearnow