Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) apparently plans to file a lawsuit to deny government subsidies to members of Congress and their staff. Those people currently get about 75% of their premiums paid by the government, which is their employer. Just like most employees in the private sector do. For some reason, many Republicans are obsessed with making sure that doesn’t happen when they get their insurance through the ACA health care exchanges.
The LA Times’ Mike Memoli reports that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) will file a lawsuit to prevent Congressional staffers and lawmakers from receiving subsidies when they purchase coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, substantially increasing their health care costs.
Under current law, lawmakers and some of their aides will be required to drop their existing health care coverage in the tax-subsidized Federal Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and enroll in the insurance exchanges at the core of the health law beginning on Oct 1. Though Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — the author of the amendment responsible for the shift — had initially stipulated that Congressional employees “use their existing employer contribution” to buy insurance, the final law did not specifically mention the role of the employer, leaving regulators concerned that the language could prohibit the government from contributing to the insurance costs of Congressional employees and leave poorly-paid aides responsible for the full cost of coverage.
In August, after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) ruled that the Congress can apply their employer contributions towards their exchange plans, Republicans pledged to forfeit the contribution and fight to undo “special exemption.” Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation to require Congressional and executive branch employees to sign up for Obamacare without the employer contribution and Republicans considered including the provision in legislation to re-open the federal government.
Even if he were right — and he’s not — the lawsuit will be immediately dismissed. He has no standing because he is not being harmed in any way.