Posted on October 10, 2013
I know I am asking a lot here.
But the new health care needs a new name.
Let’s stop calling it Obamacare.
Here is my reasoning.
If you want to repeal a law, you need Democratic help. They will never vote to repeal a law named after a President that they nominated twice and got elected twice.
The term Obamacare came initially from a health care lobbyist named Jeanne Schulte Scott, according to Wikipedia. She was describing a series of health care proposals put forward by various politicians and Obamacare turned out to candidate Obama’s take on it.
It was Mitt Romney who first used Obamacare as part of a political attack. In 2007, before Mr. Obama had won his first primary, Romney accused candidate Obama of pushing for socialized, government-run health care, which of course, is distinct from whatever Romney did in Massachusetts (or at least, that’s what Romney tried to convince people).
After the President successfully enacted his proposal, a competition developed between proponents and opponents of the law. The President memorably said that he supported the term “Obamacare”. “I have no problem saying Obama cares. I do care.”
The Department of Health and Human Services, in fact, bought Google Ads tied to the keyword “Obamacare”, to steer people back to the official HHS site. The Obama campaign also embraced Obamacare as if it were a positive accomplishment.
But the Tea Party was born thanks to Obamacare.
Tea Party patriots (as they like to call themselves) were mobilized chiefly by opposing the President’s new law. Sarah Palin talked about death panels, Rush Limbaugh warned about the dire impact of Obamacare, and lately, Ted Cruz did a fake filibuster promising to stop the President’s law by defunding it.
Obamacare didn’t dominate the Presidential debate, as much as some folks would have liked. But now that we are getting closer to implementation, we should think clearly about whether the energy that is expended in complaining about it actually helps or hurts the cause in changing it.
There is a bit of a Obama derangement syndrome.
Anything associated with this President drives conservatives absolutely batty. They go nuts and they can’t think rationally.
That derangement syndrome actually helped to drive the right wing on this silly effort to shut down the government to force the President to defund his own law.
That was never going to happen, and it has proved to be a serious distraction from the very real troubles that have dogged the new law.
We might be better off taking the President’s name of the law, and trying to approach this debate more rationally.
There is another reason why it might behoove us to change the terms of the debate.
What if the law turns out to be amazingly popular?
That probably won’t happen, but then again, people said the same thing about Social Security.
We don’t call the Social Security program, Roosevelt-care, do we?
So, let’s stop calling the Affordable Care Act Obamacare?
Let’s call it G-Care, short for government health care.
That’s what it is and it might be easier to get Democrats to repeal parts of the G-Care than it will be to get them to repeal Obamacare.