Senator Johnson's "Exemption" Lawsuit Gets a Hearing
By Hadley Heath Manning
Senator Ron Johnson's lawsuit had its first day in court Monday as a federal judge in Green Bay, WI, heard arguments from both sides. Sen. Johnson is challenging an Obama Administration decision to offer special treatment to Members of Congress and their staffs under the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare). USA Today explains:
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it resolved that members of Congress and staff should be treated the same way as most private citizens under the act, Johnson said.
The Obama administration decided Congress members and staff members were eligible for a subsidy to pay for health insurance or that they could get coverage from one of the insurance exchanges set up for group policies to small businesses, the SHOP exchanges, Johnson said. But the federal government is not a small business and doesn't fit the definition as the Affordable Care Act requires, Johnson said.
"Obama unilaterally changed the law," Johnson said. "That's not our constitutional system."
Part of the challenge before Sen. Johnson and his co-plaintiff is to show that they've been harmed. Sen. Johnson argues that as an elected official, one of his most valuable assets is the public's trust, which is undermined when he gets special treatment under ObamaCare.
But couldn't he just refuse the government benefit? That's a question U.S. District Judge William Griesbach asked at the hearing. Johnson's lawyer replied that this would still require a positive step on the Senator's part and could still risk his credibility with his constituents.
You can watch a video interview of Johnson and read more here.