If You Love It, Stop Calling It ‘Obamacare’

Using the name coined by its opponents is not helping the Affordable Care Act succeed.

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Weeks later, most pollsters stopped using “Obamacare” in their questions, perhaps wising up to the fact that respondents didn’t really know what they were being asked. But according to a YouGov poll, that hasn’t stopped public anger over the law and a finding that 42 percent want it repealed—even though 79 percent admit they’ve never visited Healthcare.gov. 

Maybe we can argue that a rocky rollout eventually helps force greater public awareness and understanding about a confusing law. Or maybe the White House could seriously push a principled discussion rather than a partisan conversation that merely results in locked horns with the opposition over who said what first and why they’re wrong. And are you going to stick by the name because you think it’s a snarky retort to the opposition, or are you going to get on with the business of providing people with needed services?

So what’s the problem? “Affordable Care Act” is only two syllables longer than the four-syllable Obamacare, and all you have to do is keep hashtagging #ACA—so you can’t make a plea for brevity. Any uninsured person with a little desperate sense would be more inclined to go with the Care that is Affordable rather than the care taken over as some special rhetorical shrine to a politician. Wouldn’t you?

Charles D. Ellison is a veteran political strategist, Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune and chief political correspondent for Uptown magazine. When he's not mad, he can be reached via Twitter.

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Charles D. Ellison is a veteran political strategist and a contributing editor at The Root. He is also Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune, a frequent contributor to The Hill, the weekly Washington insider for WDAS-FM in Philadelphia and host of The Ellison Report, a weekly public-affairs magazine broadcast and podcast on WEAA 88.9 FM Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter.

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