Dueling rulings could impact La. insurance subsidies
WASHINGTON - There's another legal battle involving President Barack Obama's health care law, which could impact thousands in Louisiana who receive help paying for their plans.
Two federal appeals courts today have issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue. The rulings came within hours of each other.
A divided court panel in Washington called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people pay their premiums. The court said financial aid can only be paid in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges.
But in Virginia, another appeals panel unanimously came to the opposite conclusion. That court said the IRS had correctly interpreted the will of Congress when it issued regulations allowing consumers nationwide to purchase subsidized coverage.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, an opponent of the president's health reforms, refused to set up a state exchange. A study released earlier this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation said around 40,000 residents in the state qualified for tax credits under the new law, averaging $3,610 per person.
The Obama administration said health care subsidies will keep flowing despite the court's decision. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says while the case works its way through the courts, it has "no practical impact" on tax credits. He said the White House is confident in Justice's legal case.
Both cases are part of a long-running political and legal campaign to overturn the health care law.