Why you must be careful which “news sources” you trust…

If you want to know what’s wrong with our “news” media these days, it was absolutely apparent today. Check out these headlines. The first is from the Huffington Post:

2 GOP JUDGES STRIKE DEATH BLOW AGAINST OBAMACARE

And look how prominent te headline is:

HuffPo Headline

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Then, there’s Think Progress:

BREAKING: Two Republican Judges Order Obamacare Defunded

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This is from The Guardian:

Federal appeals court rules against Affordable Care Act exchange subsidies

Ruling would effectively make insurance much more expensive for people who bought coverage through Obamacare exchanges

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And this one is from The Nation:

Appeals Court Advances Mortal Threat to Obamacare

Conservative justices ruled to effectively gut the health law in 27 states.

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Those are all leading stories that are currently posted on several professional left “news” sites. It’s now 12:17 PM MT (2:17 PM ET). Scary, aren’t they? I mean, if one were to read these, they would think Obamacare was about to be gutted; that we were all going to lose our insurance, and revert back to the system we had before, which was an unmitigated disaster.

There’s just one problem. At best, the above headlines are incredibly misleading. They’re designed to get you to click on them; they bear no resemblance to reality; none whatsoever. They are extremely dishonest. The stories aren’t quite as bad as the headlines, but how many people look at the headline and react to it without thinking? Also, when stories update and change, aren’t news organizations supposed to update?

Here’s the real story. The DC Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 ruling, decided to take a provision in the Affordable Care Act regarding exchange subsidies absolutely literally, and made an absurd ruling. Essentially, they decided that, because subsidies can only be granted to eligible people through an “exchange established by the State,” meaning those states for which the federal government set up exchanges because the Republican state governors and legislatures refused to set one up, subsidies were technically illegal. (Read the ruling here.)

That reading is absurd, of course. But it is not the end of Obamacare; not even close. The first thing to know is, there will be an en banc appeal of the ruling, where all five judges will determine the ruling’s veracity, including two new Obama appointees.  That means three Obama appointees will gt to overturn the ruling, and undoubtedly will. In addition to that, there is a Supreme Court decision in place upholding just about every aspect of the ACA. It’s unlikely they would uphold it anyway.

But wait… there’s more…

Check out this headline from the Washington Post:

Appeals courts split on Obamacare subsidies

Wait! WHAT? More than one appeals court ruled on this today?

Yes. The right wing judges on the DC Circuit made one ruling today, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting just about 50 miles away, ruled the exact opposite. (Read that ruling here) Put simply, at worst the rulings are a wash,meaning nothing is likely to change.

So, why are the first four stories still up? According to the Washington Post site, their story was posted at 10:48 AM ET (8:48 AM MT) See?

WP Headline

In other words, the fact that there were two contradictory rulings on ACA subsidies was known for more than three hours before I pulled these headlines and started writing this story.

This is why you have to check multiple sources on every story, to verify its veracity. And you absolutely must never trust a headline. Headlines are used to get people to click. Too often, they are inaccurate, even if the story it links to is not.

Obamacare subsidies are not dead; not even close, and no “moral blow” has been struck. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

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