Court ruling could affect Alabama healthcare customers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Court ruling could affect Alabama healthcare customers

(Source: MGN) (Source: MGN)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A pair of court decisions on Tuesday, sent mixed messages to Alabamians who purchased healthcare plans on the federally run exchange.

On the one hand, a Virginia panel ruled that the IRS was within its bounds when it approved tax credits and subsidies to individuals who purchased healthcare plans on the federal run exchange.

However the D.C. Appeals Court ruled that the subsidies were only meant to be given to individuals who purchased their plans on state-run exchanges.

Alabama, along with 26 other states, opted to allow the federal government to run their healthcare market places.

"The clear intent of the law was to allow all Americans to have access to the tax credits," said Jim Carnes with Alabama Arise, a group that's helped to register thousands of Alabamians through the online marketplace.

Republican leaders in the state were quick to use the D.C. ruling as more proof that Obamacare is a failed venture.

"I am not surprised by today's ruling," Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. "The law clearly states that the tax subsidies were for state based exchanges and not federally facilitated exchanges."

Alabama's Attorney General Luther Strange, who recently said that he tries to figure out ways to sue the Obama Administration on a regular basis said, "This lawsuit has the potential to cripple Obamacare and free millions of Americans from the individual mandate."

More than 98,000 Alabamians purchased plans on the federal exchange, with more than 82,000 of them qualifying for some kind of federal subsidy. The average value of the subsidies is $262 per month with the average cost of a plan from the marketplace at $350 per month.

Jim Carnes with Alabama Arise said, "We don't think this is going to stand. We consider it a flash in the pan." Carnes went on to say "The legislative history of the ACA spells it out. Congress clearly intended for this to be applied across the country."

For now, no one will lose their coverage based on the D.C. ruling and they will continue to have the plan and price they selected on the federally facilitated exchange.

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