Federal Appeals Court To Hear Johnson’s Lawsuit Challenging Affordable Care Act

Senator Contends Obama Overstepped Authority By Authorizing Subsidies For Congressional Staff

Shawn Johnson/WPR.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is trying to keep his lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act alive, even though a judge ruled last summer the Republican did not have standing. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court will hear the case.

Part of the Affordable Care Act gives members of Congress and their staff subsidies to help pay for insurance purchased on the exchange. That way, they get health benefits similar to other federal workers, whose coverage is largely paid for by the government.

Johnson said the subsidies amount to “special treatment” and that President Barack Obama overstepped his authority in offering them.

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“He’s legislating. There’s nothing in the Constitution that allows president to enact, repeal or amend a piece of legislation. Yet that’s what he’s doing with Obamacare, with immigration. I’m not trying to pick a fight,” said Johnson.

When Johnson filed his lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management last year, more than three-dozen Republicans signed an amicus brief supporting him. But it also caused a rift among some Republicans. Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner was concerned about congressional staff leaving if the lawsuit were to succeed since without subsidies, their health insurance would cost more.