Senator Ronald Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, questions witnesses during a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2014.
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Sam Frizell
July 22, 2014

A Republican senator’s challenge to the part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law involving members of Congress and their staffs was dismissed Monday by a federal judge.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R—Wisc.) filed the suit related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that members of Congress and their staff may only receive health plans created under the healthcare law, or offered through a online exchange established under the law. The lawsuit claimed that the federal Office of Personnel Management “created a loophole that allowed congressional staff an exemption from the ACA’s provisions,” according to the decision.

The so-called loophole allowed some junior staffers not considered part of the official office of a member of Congress to continue receiving employee benefits, rather than having to buy insurance under the law.

“The Obama administration violated its own signature health care law by giving special treatment to members of Congress and their staffs,” Johnson said in a statement Monday.

U.S. District Judge William Griesbach dismissed the lawsuit on Monday. Griesbach said Senator Johnson failed to show he’d been harmed by the healthcare law, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in 2012 the law’s “individual mandate” that requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

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