Words and labels matter. The legislation that passed health care is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), not Obamacare. We don’t have Roosevelt Security, we have Social Security (ah, but that’s another topic altogether). In attaching a name to the legislation, it polarizes first the thinking, then the discussion. Please, please, refer to the ACA with its proper name.
I think the ship has probably sailed on this one. Plus, the Obamacare label stuff in part because Obama made the decision to embrace it early on, rather than try to fight Republicans who were trying to give the moniker a negative connotation.
I get your point, though. There are polls that show a lot of people don’t realize the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing, and people support the ACA at higher rates because of the stigma around Obama’s name. But this is a product of our bite-sized, made-for-TV culture. Every scandal gets a “gate,” every policy proposal is given a face. Remember this goes back to before Obama – it was Hillarycare in the 90s and Romneycare in Massachusetts.
My Indivisible group (and I did personally) made this decision a long time ago…we ONLY call it ACA. The Jimmy Kimmel interviews awhile back were eye opening. That people literally had NO idea that Obamacare and the ACA were the same – in LOS ANGELES!
I’ve been aruging this for a long time, and have always used the term ACA. However, many people think that Obamacare is a positive term that should be embraced.
I’m conflicted. I agree with the above and will try to default to that. I’ll still refer to it as Obamacare from time to time, though. There’s just too many instances where repeating “ACA” in every sentence about health care is exhausting and dry, which makes it feel unapproachable and devoid of a human touch. Plus, you typically refer to an acronym on first reference by spelling it out and “Affordable Care Act” is very long. Maybe Obamacare is lazy – I don’t know.
I do think that Obamacare as a term works for a lot of reasons: a (generally) positive sentiment towards Obama; it’s a person and not an acronym, so there’s humanistic element to it; and the name actually provides the context and narrative needed to understand the history of (i.e. Obamacare is this thing that Obama created to expand health insurance coverage for Americans). And, for whatever it’s worth, Obamacare was made up by the Right as a negative term, which was later re-appropriated by the Left.
To @catone’s point, we do get into this shit situation where 1/3 of Americans don’t know ACA and Obamacare are the same thing (One-Third Donât Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same - The New York Times), which lead to egregious situations like this dude cheering for rolling back Obamacare while saying everything was a-ok because he had ACA (https://twitter.com/HelenKennedy/status/818522209283178498).
I think it’s situational. If you’re talking or packaging something for someone or an audience who is less receptive to Obamacare, I’d say there’s no need use the term, because it will unnecessarily color their opinion. Among aware individuals, there’s no real harm in using the O word.
Communication is a technique, and the less unintended baggage comes along with it, the better.
But, but… its proper name is PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)—it’s not just “affordable”, it protects people too! j/k
You make a good point. Some people tune out of a conversation immediately after they hear “Obama…”
Nonetheless, here’s a brief history on the term “Obamacare”. It was first introduced by a lobbyist in 2007, then showed up in Congress in 2009, was then published a lot in headlines (probably because it was “catchy” and short), then was subsequently referenced by Republicans literally thousands of times, and eventually Obama himself adopted the term in public speeches, probably to prevent GOP from co-opting it as a pejorative term.
“Obamacare” is now the mainstream popular term recognized by almost everyone. The point of communication is to be clear; as long as people understand what is being referenced and agree upon the scope of its meaning within a particular context, then I think its use is fine.
However, technically speaking (uh oh, here it comes…) it’s important to note the ACA and Obamacare aren’t actually the same thing IF you think Obamacare is just the individual health insurance marketplace (the federal exchange), guaranteed coverage of essential health benefits, medicaid expansions, ability to stay on parents’ insurance until age 26, etc.
The ACA has ten Titles (“chapters”), of which when most people think of “Obamacare”, they think of Title I: Quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
There are other components like the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides 12% of CDC’s annual budget for things like research and tracking diseases/outbreaks. Title V is about creating jobs and recruiting more health personnel to the industry.
For most people, “ACA” and “Obamacare” are interchangeable. The full title is long and the abbreviation might be unknown or misunderstood, so “Obamacare” it is
Edit: The unfortunate side effect of conflating the entire ACA with just health insurance alone is people think the GOP repeal bills “merely” alter insurance. Some cut public health funds and jobs too.
While I probably knew more of that than many people, I knew far less of it than I should. I need to really pick through that stuff. Thanks for posting it.
I understand why this recommendation is made, but I really hate the idea of it. This administration is dedicated to erasing everything Obama ever did. I think defending Obama’s actions are important, not merely because he did many things right, but because the erasure effort itself is deeply buried in racism and political dishonesty.
Not so much for the legacy aspect, but in thinking about it, I feel like maybe we should keep using “Obamacare” as much as possible, and explain that it is the ACA. Not that either of those are perfect descriptors of what we’re talking about here, but there are more than two people out there who think ACA = good and Obamacare = bad.
People NEED to understand that they are the same thing. Too much of this rooting for Obamacare repeal is because people don’t realize that. It needs to be reinforced that, regardless of the name in front of it, this is the thing that gives them expanded access to healthcare and protects those with pre-existing conditions.
If the officials they support keep using “Obamacare”, then I think we need to embrace that if only to say “Obamacare, otherwise known as the ACA”.