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Updated Jul 22, 2014 - 5:09 pm

Expert: Arizonans on Obamacare shouldn't panic

PHOENIX -- It's business as usual for the 120,000 Arizonans who purchased health care through the health insurance marketplace despite a court battle.

A federal appeals court rejected Tuesday insurance subsidies for coverage on federally-run insurance exchanges. The court ruled the tax subsidies can only be paid through state-run exchanges. Arizona doesn't have one, thus meaning subsidies would have been lost.

However, another federal court later ruled in favor of the subsidies on the federally-run exchanges.

Communications Director Jon Ford of the St. Luke's Health Initiative in Phoenix said Arizonans who signed up for Obamacare would have found themselves in a bind had the first ruling taken effect.

"You would have a significant pocket of people who are not covered by employer insurance and are not eligible for (Arizona's) Medicaid program known as AHCCCS (Access)," said Ford. "They would be stuck in the middle, and wouldn't be able to afford health coverage on their own."

Ford had some advice for Arizonans signed up for Obamacare.

"Don't panic," he said. "This is a legal process. It will go through multiple appeals, and there will be some time before there is a final ruling on this, most likely at the level of the Supreme Court."

Ford said that, as of right now, it's business as usual, and the federal subsidies are still in effect.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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