Senator questions ACA exemption for Congress

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management acting director seeking more for information on the OPM rule that grants an Affordable Care Act exemption to Congress and its staff.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is asking for more information on a 2013 rule that enables members of Congress and their staff to buy health insurance on the Small Business Health Options Plan (SHOP) exchange.

“The SHOP exchange is intended for employers with less than 50 employees, yet Congress employs more than 16,000 people,” Johnson wrote in his letter. “Without this classification, members of Congress and their staff would be required to purchase health insurance on the individual exchange, where no employer contributions are permitted,” he added.

Johnson filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2014 challenging the rule, contending that it “exempt[s] members of Congress and their staff from the full effects of the Affordable Care Act.” The lawsuit was dismissed.

In 2016, Johnson submitted questions for the record requesting information about the development of the OPM rule. 

“I have yet to receive satisfactory responses from OPM,” he said in his letter.

In his latest attempt for information on the rule, Johnson is asking Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan to submit all material related to the congressional exemption and to preserve all documents related to the rule.


Reader comments

Wed, Oct 4, 2017 North Carolina

Why does Congress get this benefit? And all the other employees have to do without? What kind of government are you all running? The ACA is too expensive for my daughter and her family. Yet these individuals get away with murder.

Mon, Aug 28, 2017

Remember Senate and Congress will always take care of themselves and their bloated staff over the American people. They are the haves in regards to benefits, amount of work they do (if any), vacation time, salaries, and other over and under the table perks. They think this is part of their routine benefits.

Fri, Aug 18, 2017 Russ GA

Stopping this exemption could cause some of the members of the Senate and House to think more positively about making major changes or outright suspension of the ACA.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above


Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

Free E-Newsletter


I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question