Sen. Ron Johnson suing to reduce congressional health benefits claiming it’s a burden on him


Image credit: Burdens by josh james**

I do my best to ignore Wisconsin’s Senator Ron Johnson these days but I found this at the top of FARK Politics on Saturday:
ron johnson on fark 01 04 2014

Senator Ron Johnson plans to sue because congressional staffers are getting money from the federal gov’t to help purchase healthcare on A.C.A. exchanges.

It seems RoJo can not abide his own congressional employees getting healthcare benefits that are better than what a part-time clerk at Trader Joe’s gets.*

The finer details on this suit won’t be revealed ’til tomorrow, but I expect RoJo’s legal reps. will say the Obama administration lacks statutory authority to pay any subsidy to healthcare plans outside of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and that the situation presents “special treatment” that places a “harmful burden” on Johnson and other members of Congress.

RoJo told the Oshkosh Northwestern recently, “In this case, members of Congress now are not being held to the letter of the law, and that creates an alienation; it creates a wedge between a member of Congress and their constituents.”


So as I said – the congressional staffers will have it worse than a Trader’s Joe clerk since part-time T.J. clerks can get BOTH $500 bucks cash to help purchase insurance on the exchanges AND they can get A.C.A. tax credits as well. RoJo would make it so congressional workers could get neither.

That’s not all. A Trader’s Joe clerk can appeal to a company board and possibly get more cash if special hardship circumstances can be established.

I’ll acknowledge I haven’t spoken with RoJo’s staff members [this list features names and salaries].   Still, I assume it might be awkward for RoJo Legislative Assistant Deborah Weigel, for example, to confront her boss *if* she were having trouble with healthcare expenses after RoJo rids her of any benefits from her federal job. It looks like Ms. Weigel earns about $58K per year from working with RoJo.  Does that go far in D.C.?  I’m just a yokel in cheeseland but I know that austerity advocate Paul Ryan sipped on $350 wine there – so – I’ll assume the cost of living is 10 times what it is here.

Maybe all those staffers are rich kids, then?

Whatever.   As far as RoJo is concerned, she can eat cake (with $350 wine) because he gets to say Obama’s administration “has no authority”.  That’s the point!  TYRANNY!

Still, wouldn’t RoJo make more friends talking about NSA surveillance tyranny?
Or TPP tyranny?

Or even better — how about he talks about the hardships Trader’s Joe clerks are facing in their everyday American lives and then sue NOBODY?

Because people back home in Wisconsin remember that RoJo disparaged lawyers during his 2010 campaign because he was trying to say that he’s a special guy: He’s an accountant! [Well that and his opponent was the lawyer.]

As we see, there’s nothing to stop an accountant from hiring a lawyer.

Also of interest: Though I can’t place my fingers on this right now, I’m pretty sure I ran across an article that said RoJo is not putting himself on an A.C.A. exchange health plan.

He’s on his wife’s healthcare policy.

For the curious: Why the congressional peeps can’t get the same insurance other federal employees have

Back in pre-Obamacare days, Congress and its staffers could get healthcare under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Then GOP Senator Chuck Grassley successfully proposed an amendment to the A.C.A. which forced Congress and its staff to get health insurance off the exchanges (If they wanted health insurance through their jobs. They still retained the freedom to be a rider on a spouse’s health insur. policy, for example.) Thus it was that a set of workers was created that is forced by law to lose healthcare provided by an employer and go on the exchanges – perhaps being the only such employees in America in this class.

The Office of Personnel Management which operates FEHBP proposed a rule that says that in fact a cash payment which is the value of the former FEHBP insurance could go to congressional workers but that the workers can not get premium tax credits under Obamacare.

Continued reading:
‘Special Subsidy’ for Congress
This offers background plus breaks down what falshoods Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are telling about congressional healthcare.

* Referring here specifically to Trader Joe’s employees that work under 30 hours per week who were booted from their employer-provided healthcare and were told to use A.C.A. exchanges with an extra payment of $500 from the company annually. After some blowback from workers and bad press, T.Joe’s said if an employee is suffering an unusual hardship under the new A.C.A. system, then he/she can submit a request for more cash to help and that a special panel will review the situation.

** Original image “Burdens” got cropped and also filtered. See original here.


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