Healthcare

Johnson threatens to subpoena OPM over ObamaCare 'congressional exemption'

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is threatening to subpoena documents from the Office of Personnel Management [OPM] over what he refers to as the ObamaCare "congressional exemption."

Johnson has criticized rules that allow members of Congress and their staff to receive employer contributions toward their ObamaCare health plans.

In an Aug. 16 letter, he asked OPM to provide information on why that's allowed.

Now he says the information provided to him by OPM is insufficient.

"If OPM does not produce the entirety of the information and materials requested in my Aug. 16 letter by Oct. 18, 2017, the Committee may be forced to consider the use of compulsory process," Johnson wrote Wednesday in a letter to OPM acting director Kathleen McGettigan.

Johnson is also requesting interviews with five people at OPM, though their names were redacted from the public version of the letter.

The controversy stems from how members and their staff receive health care.

ObamaCare mandates they purchase health insurance on the law's exchanges. In a rule, OPM said that meant lawmakers and staff would buy health insurance through Washington's small business exchange - which means employers can contribute to their employees' health coverage.

Opponents of this, such as Johnson, say that shouldn't be the case, arguing Congress has thousands of employees and, thus, is not a small business. Lawmakers and staff should purchase health insurance through the individual markets, which doesn't allow for an employer contribution.

Others argue they shouldn't be buying health coverage on the exchanges in the first place, saying Congress is a large employer and under the employer mandate, should provide its employees with health coverage.

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