Healthcare Rulings from Federal Appeals Courts Conflict

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A federal court ruling could jeopardize affordable healthcare for hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan. But, another ruling is keeping that from happening.

A federal appeals court has ruled to only authorize subsidies for those who buy insurance through the state insurance exchange.

This means those states, like Michigan, who participate in the federal exchange program would no longer receive subsidies. Right now, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the subsidy helps reduce the average monthly premium by 72%. And, nearly 240,000 people in Michigan are receiving their aid.

Attorney Jonathan Raven of Fraser Trebilcock, explained the result. "You take away the subsidy, the affordable care is no longer affordable to the people who many policy makers feel needed it most."

But, today another federal appeals court ruled that these tax credits are upheld by the Affordable Care Act.

"They're inconsistent. They're clearly inconsistent, so the law is not settled and so that will ultimately end up, I think in the U.S. Supreme Court," Fraser said.

The two rulings are just preliminary and no decision will be made until the Supreme Court hears the case. Raven says there's no telling when that will be.

"Cases could be accelerated where they're really really urgent. This one's important, but it doesn't mean it's going to happen overnight," he said.

The debate could be null and void by 2015 if lawmakers decide to set up a state exchange policy.