If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Has to Have a Nickname, Why Not Obamneycare?
I get why “ACA” might be a boring name for the Affordable Care Act; it doesn’t quite resonate and inspire.
But why “Obamacare”? It seems to me that this nickname for such an important change in our healthcare system is too incendiary and polarizing, pitting Republican against Democrat, even among average citizens, cultivating an “Us versus Them” mentality when we should be working together to ensure that this change works for the benefit of all.
I blame the media.
Yes, you heard right: THE MEDIA.
I expect Republicans to embrace the “Obamacare” term because it fits their narrative of “no” and negativity.
No surprise there.
But I don’t understand why the media (and even some Democrats) have jumped on “Obamacare” as the accepted lexicon for such an important and far-reaching change in healthcare, given that the ACA is actually a bipartisan idea, first carried out in Massachusetts as “Romneycare.”
At the time, the term “Romneycare” made sense: it was a Republican-initiated plan, embraced by Democrats, and passed in 2006. “Romneycare” did not carry the negative cachet that it later acquired during the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential primaries, even acting as a template for the ACA, highly praised as legislation that could be embraced by both parties.
But when the Democratic version passed in 2010, suddenly it became Obamacare, ignoring totally Romney’s and the Heritage Foundation’s input in this law.
When the media use loaded terms like “Obamacare,” they are, in effect, tossing objective news coverage out the window, suggesting that the ACA is a terrible law, when, in fact, it offers much-needed healthcare reform.
Why do big Media insist on using this divisive term?
I can only conclude that negativity sells newspapers, magazines, and ads, so, at worst, Big Media use the term to rile up the masses, at worst, out of laziness, stupidity, and lack of creativity.
The herd/lemming mentality as reporters, bloggers, and journalists stampede for The Big Story, feeding off each other.
I suggest a more neutral, bipartisan term, still clever and memorable, but placing the onus and the credit on both Republicans and Democrats:
I did not create this term – thank former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) for coining it – but I have usurped it and set up a simple website, where regular folks can tell their ACA stories, both positive and negative: Obamneycare.org.
My calling the ACA “Obamneycare” will not make it so – I’m just one ordinary person – but if enough people start referring to the ACA as Obamneycare, perhaps U.S. citizens will begin to see the ACA as a true bipartisan effort to reform healthcare.
Which it is.