President's Obamacare Waiver for Congress Challenged
MacIver News Service | January 6, 2014
[Madison, Wisc...] Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) is suing the Office of Personnel Management over special treatment members of Congress and their staffs are receiving under Obamacare.
The federal law specifically kicked them off their federal healthcare plans and forced them to get insurance from the Obamacare exchange. However, most of them make too much income to qualify for Obamacare subsidies. That meant their annual insurance costs were set to increase anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 per plan.
On August 1st, President Obama granted members of Congress and their staffs a waiver in which the government would make up for that increased cost with special contributions. Johnson says this is special treatment and that the President is not authorized to make that kind of decision. OPM then wrote the rule to enact the President's waiver.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the lawsuit against OPM on Johnson's behalf in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Monday.
"Time and time again we have seen the Obama Administration ignore the Constitution and federal law in its implementation of Obamacare. Now, without any legal authority whatsoever, it wants to exempt Congress from living by the same set of rules as their constituents. We are taking a stand with Senator Johnson against the continued lawlessness of the Obama Administration," WILL President, Rick Esenberg, said in a statement Monday.
Not all Republicans agree with Johnson's plan. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) does not believe Senators should be fighting their battles in the courtroom.
"Senator Johnson should spend his time legislating rather than litigating as our country is facing big problems that must be addressed by Congress - not the courts. All Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but this politically motivated lawsuit only takes public attention away from how bad all of Obamacare really is and focuses it on a trivial issue. Fortunately, Senator Johnson's suit is likely frivolous and will not achieve the result he's seeking," Sensenbrenner said in a press release.
Johnson pointed out that Sensenbrenner voted to end these special contributions when it came up on the floor, in a press release responding to the criticism.
"By no means do I believe this issue is trivial, or my lawsuit to overturn this injustice is frivolous. This is an issue of basic fairness that I believe is worth fighting for," Johnson said.