Johnson v. OPM

Case Name: Johnson v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Type of Case: Healthcare; Separation of Powers

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Number: 4-CV-9; 14-2723

Filed On: January 6, 2014

Current Status: Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) was originally written in a way that would require Members of Congress and their staffs to purchase insurance from the “exchanges” established under the ACA.  Furthermore, they were not to receive an employer contribution from the government.

However, President Obama’s administration changed the rules in an illegal matter.  The Office of Personnel Management rewrote the rules so that Members of Congress and their staffs could receive an employer subsidy for purchasing insurance on the exchange and furthermore required them to purchase insurance through the D.C. “SHOP” exchange, which is supposed to be exclusively for small employers.  Ordinary citizens cannot receive tax-free subsidies from their employers to purchase insurance on exchanges.

In order to ensure that the ACA is implemented the way Congress wrote it, and to fight back against the President’s unlawful usurpation of legislative power, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) filed a federal lawsuit with legal assistance from WILL and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.

The government filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Senator Johnson and his staffer lacked standing to bring the complaint.  After hearing oral argument, Judge Griesbach agreed with the government and ordered the case dismissed.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which upheld the ruling of the lower court.

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