Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

A Wisconsin Divide Over Obamacare Lawsuit

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A Republican senator has filed a lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management, claiming the Obama administration acted illegally when it exempted some congressional staff from having to enroll in the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

In an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson said OPM -- despite extensive debate over Hill staff coverage leading up to the law’s passage in 2010 -- issued a ruling in October 2013 that “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 described the administration’s decision as: “After groping for a pretext, OPM essentially declared the federal government a small employer -- magically qualifying members of Congress for coverage through a Small Business Health Options Program, exchanges where employers can buy insurance for their employees.” Johnson’s suit filed in Wisconsin district court would end the government’s contribution to congressional staff not enrolled in the exchanges. 

A fellow Wisconsin Republican, however, disagrees. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, issued a statement calling the suit “an unfortunate political stunt. I am committed to repealing Obamacare,” he said, “but the employer contribution he’s attacking is nothing more than a standard benefit that most private and all federal employees receive -- including the president. Success in the suit will mean that Congress will lose some of its best staff and will be staffed primarily by recent college graduates who are still on their parents’ insurance. This will make it even more difficult to fight the president and his older, more experienced staff.” 

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.