GOP senator to appeal ObamaCare lawsuit

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) will file an appeal after a federal judge last week dismissed his lawsuit challenging an ObamaCare rule.

"To honor my solemn oath of office, I feel compelled to exhaust every legal recourse," Johnson said in an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the weekend. "I will file my appeal on Monday."

Johnson had filed suit over a rule that allows congressional staff to continue to receive federal healthcare subsidies when signing up for ObamaCare. 

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A federal judge, though, dismissed his case last month, arguing the senator and a member of Johnson's staff did not have standing to challenge the rule, because they suffered no injury. 

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over the Eastern District of Wisconsin, where Johnson filed the suit. 

Johnson sued the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in January over congressional staff guidance issued in regard to ObamaCare. Last year, the OPM issued a ruling allowing members and their "official office" staff to continue to receive federal healthcare subsidies on the newly created health exchanges.

The federal government in the past had subsidized premium costs for congressional employees through a federal healthcare program. The Affordable Care Act required members and their staff to switch to the new exchanges but was silent on whether the subsidies could continue, allowing the OPM to make the ruling. 

Johnson said the OPM decision is one in a pattern of unlawful executive decisions the administration has taken in regard to the healthcare law, admitting many others have been more "egregious."

The senator decried Judge William Griesbach's decision, which did not rule on the merits of the case because he determined Johnson lacked standing. Griesbach was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.

"If a member of Congress does not have standing in this case, who does?" Johnson asked. "And if no one has standing to force the administration to faithfully execute the law, how can the rule of law be maintained?"