Courts issue conflicting rulings on healthcare exchanges - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Courts issue conflicting rulings on healthcare exchanges

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The Affordable Care Act suffered another potential setback on Tuesday when two separate appeals courts issued different rulings on subsidies for federal exchanges. (Source: Healthcare.gov/CNN) The Affordable Care Act suffered another potential setback on Tuesday when two separate appeals courts issued different rulings on subsidies for federal exchanges. (Source: Healthcare.gov/CNN)

WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) - Two federal appeals courts on Tuesday weighed in on a crucial component of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act with very different opinions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, DC, circuit ruled that individuals cannot use government subsidies to buy health insurance on federally run exchanges, only the state-run exchanges.

If that ruling holds, millions of Americans may not be able to afford the coverage that puts them in line with the law's requirement that all Americans have insurance.

In a separate case, a federal appeals court in Richmond, VA, ruled unanimously in favor of the subsidies. Because of similar legal challenges, the White House said it's confident in the Justice Department's appeal of the Washington court's ruling.

"We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance," said Judge Thomas Griffith, writing for the 2-1 majority ruling in the Washington case. "At least until states that wish to can set up exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly."

For now, the tax credits will remain available, coverage unaffected and the law unchanged.

But the legal process will likely send the Affordable Care Act back up to the Supreme Court.

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