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7th Circuit hears senator’s health care challenge

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson holds a news conference on the steps of Wisconsin Eastern District Federal Courthouse Monday, July 7, 2014 in Green Bay, Wis. A government attorney is trying to persuade a federal judge in Green Bay to toss out Johnson's lawsuit challenging rules forcing congressional members and their employees to seek government-subsidized health insurance through small business exchanges. U.S. Justice Department attorney James Luh told U.S. District Judge William Griesbach on Monday that Johnson can't sue because he hasn't shown how the rules have caused him any injury. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jim Matthews)

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson holds a news conference on the steps of Wisconsin Eastern District Federal Courthouse on July 7 in Green Bay. Johnson wants to revive his lawsuit challenging rules forcing congressional members and their employees to seek government-subsidized health insurance through small business exchanges. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jim Matthews)

By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Arguments before an appeals court on U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s challenge of the federal health care overhaul have focused on whether a disputed rule harmed the Wisconsin Republican.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments Wednesday on executive rules adopted after the passage of the health care reform that let congressional staffers retain certain insurance benefits. A lower court tossed the Johnson lawsuit last year, saying he didn’t have legal standing because he couldn’t show any harm to himself. On the contrary, it said Johnson and his staff receiving benefits.

Johnson’s attorney, Paul Clement, said Wednesday the rules hurt Johnson’s reputation in his constituents’ eyes because his staff was getting special treatment.

Government attorney Mark Stern countered that there’s no legal support for such reasoning.

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