Conflicting federal court rulings on Affordable Care Act leave A - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Conflicting federal court rulings on Affordable Care Act leave Alabamians in health-care limbo

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BIRMINGHAM, AL - A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. ruled that the federal government could not subsidize health care insurance plans where it operates federal exchanges. Only state exchanges can be given the subsidies. And Alabama is one of the 36 states that only has a federal exchange. Meanwhile - an appeals court in Virginia ruled just the opposite... the subsidies for the federal exchanges are OK.

These two rulings on the Affordable Care Act's tax credits - the one this morning saying they are illegal for federal exchanges - the other later in the day that said they’re OK may make some Alabamians feel like they're in limbo.

A total of 97,000 Alabamians signed up for the ACA, exceeding the 83,000 goal.

Proponents of the ACA say it was designed to help those who couldn't afford to pay for their health plan in full, support coming in the form of a tax credit.

State Sen. Linda Coleman is a proponent and is still hopeful the Healthcare Act will be beneficial.

However Gov. Robert Bentley, vehemently against the ACA, said this is the main reason why he called the law a bad piece of legislation - that federal exchange subsidies or tax credits would be struck down.

"He says that it's a bad piece of legislation, it sounds like party political rhetoric. This is not about party politics, this is about putting people before the politics," Coleman said.

“The government is not supposed to take care of everybody. They're not. Taxpayers are not supposed to take care of everybody. This is not a communist state. This is not a socialistic state," Bentley explained.

This ruling doesn't affect states that operated their own exchanges. Those folks will still get their tax credit. But, nothing will happen right away and it's likely both decisions today will head to the Supreme Court for final discussion and a final ruling on tax subsidies.

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