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NBC Continues Blackout of Latest ObamaCare Rulings

On Tuesday, July 22 ObamaCare was dealt a mixed bag via two different rulings from federal appeals courts. At issue is the constitutionality of IRS tax subsidies given to individuals who purchase health insurance through the federal exchange rather than through their state-run exchange.  

The conflicting rulings means that ObamaCare is likely headed back to the Supreme Court and could put the entire Affordable Care Act in jeopardy but NBC has yet to acknowledge the case on both its Nightly News and Today show broadcasts. 

During the evening news broadcasts on Tuesday night, only ABC’s World News acknowledged the ObamaCare rulings, with anchor Diane Sawyer providing a brief 33 second recap of the two decisions. NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley were nowhere to be found. 

Despite ignoring the story on Tuesday, CBS This Morning has provided the most extensive coverage of the rulings of any of the network news shows, devoting a full 3 minutes on Wednesday. ABC’s Good Morning America continued to offer only a news brief, this time a mere 18 seconds. 

ABC news reader Amy Robach briefly highlighted the “new confusion over the fate of ObamaCare after conflicting court rulings. Two appeals courts issued opposite rulings Tuesday on the legality of an IRS rule that allows health coverage bought under the Affordable Care Act to be subsidized. The issue could take more than a year to resolve in the courts.”

Wednesday morning, CBS reporter Jan Crawford went into great detail about the eventual Supreme Court case: 

You know, you almost got whiplash yesterday. I mean, first of all you had this blockbuster ruling by a D.C. based federal appeals court that said because of the way that the law was written, everyone who got healthcare insurance through the federal exchange, you know the website, Healthcare.gov was not going be eligible for a tax credit or a subsidy to help them pay for their premiums. 

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Then just a few hours later, another federal appeals court, this one down in Virginia, ruled just the opposite in a similar case saying, yes, you can still get those tax credits if you get your health insurance through the federal exchanges or if you get them through your state. So we've got this split now and you can be sure there's going to be an appeal. 

Instead of covering the ObamaCare rulings, NBC has found time to gush over Britain’s Prince George celebrating his first birthday as well as show video of a kayak in Argentina being lifted out of the water by a whale.  

See relevant transcripts below. 

ABC

Good Morning America

July 23, 2014

AMY ROBACH: And new confusion over the fate of ObamaCare after conflicting court rulings. Two appeals courts issued opposite rulings Tuesday on the legality of an IRS rule that allows health coverage bought under the Affordable Care Act to be subsidized. The issue could take more than a year to resolve in the courts. 

 

CBS

CBS This Morning 

July 23, 2014

CHARLIE ROSE: Coverage for millions of Americans enrolled under President Obama's healthcare law may be in jeopardy this morning. On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings. At issue whether the government can help pay for insurance premiums bought on exchanges set up by the government. But the White House is stressing that subsidies for those enrolled will not be affected. 

JOSH EARNEST: While this ruling is interesting to legal theorists, it has no practical impact on their tax credits right now. You don't need a fancy legal degree to understand that Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits that would lower their healthcare costs. 

ROSE: Jan Crawford is at the Supreme Court where justices will likely take on ObamaCare again. Jan, good morning. 

JAN CRAWFORD: Well good morning, Charlie. You know, you almost got whiplash yesterday. I mean, first of all you had this blockbuster ruling by a D.C. based federal appeals court that said because of the way that the law was written, everyone who got healthcare insurance through the federal exchange, you know the website, Healthcare.gov was not going be eligible for a tax credit or a subsidy to help them pay for their premiums. Now that would be a big deal because upwards of five million people in thirty six states get their insurance through that Healthcare.gov and eighty-seven percent of them are getting subsidies to help pay for their premiums.

So, if you can't get subsidies on the federal website, the federal health exchanges, a lot of people across the country are not going to be able to afford to pay for health insurance. But wait. There's more. Then just a few hours later, another federal appeals court, this one down in Virginia, ruled just the opposite in a similar case saying, yes, you can still get those tax credits if you get your health insurance through the federal exchanges or if you get them through your state. So we've got this split now and you can be sure there's going to be an appeal. Charlie? 

ROSE: And so do you think the court will take another look? 

CRAWFORD: Oh, I think absolutely. This is something that the Supreme Court once again is going to have to wade into and take another run at the ObamaCare law. And his case even more so perhaps than the other two that the court has taken a look at is huge if this decision is allowed to stand. As one of the judges pointed out yesterday if you can't get those subsidies in the federal exchange, the entire economic underpinnings of this healthcare law is going to crumble. Norah? 

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.