Dems and media backing away from the name 'Obamacare'
As problems mount with Obamacare, it seems that Democrats and their allies in the media are trying to detach the name "Obama" from the law that is his "signature achievement," the "game-changer" that was to ensure Americans' health would depend on the state. Instead, we are hearing the term "Affordable Care Act" being applied to the fiasco.
For example, Nancy Pelosi last weekend:
"As far as the Affordable Care Act, as I call it, the fact is, that yes what has happened is unacceptable in terms of the glitches," Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week."
However the media, even outlets like the Huffington Post, normally supportive of Obama and the left, continue to use the term Obamacare, even when quoting Pelosi using the ACA name.
Pelosi, for her part, has been using the ACA name ever since the rollout of the website:
The Associated Press, for its part, is instructing its writers to avoid the term Obamacare. Tom Kent, deputy managing editor and standards editor of The Associated Press, posted a blog on October 1st that also downplays the ACA formulation:
The question has come up again: What should we call this new program?
In AP news reports, our preference is to use wording like "the nation's new health insurance system," "the health care overhaul" or "the new health care law."
Terms like "Obamacare" and the Affordable Care Act have their downsides:
_ "Obamacare" was coined by opponents of the law and is still used by them in a derogatory manner. It's true that the White House, and even Obama himself, have used the term on occasion. But the administration hasn't totally embraced "Obamacare" and still uses the Affordable Care Act much of the time. We're sticking with our previous approach to "Obamacare": AP writers should use it in quotes, or in formulations like "the law, sometimes known as Obamacare, provides for ..."
_ The Affordable Care Act is the official name of the law. However, its very name is promotional; opponents believe it will not be affordable for individuals or the country. Also, polling indicates that not all Americans know the law by this name. AP writers can use the term when necessary to refer to the law, but should do so sparingly.
NPR, which is partially funded by your tax dollars, is also avoiding the term "Obamacare," but is just fine with the ACA formulation. Drew Zahn of World Net Daily writes:
At at NPR, Stuart Seidel, managing editor for standards and practices, announced in a memo ruling earlier this week that reporters should cut back on use of the term.
"'Obamacare' seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular. And it seems to be on our air and in our copy a great deal," Seidel said. "[W]ord choices do leave an impression. Please avoid overusing 'Obamacare.'
"On first reference, it's best to refer to the 'Affordable Care Act' or 'the health care law,'" he continued. "On later references, feel free to use 'Obamacare,' but mix it up with other ways to refer to the law."
This debate is not an idle matter. Polling demonstrates that when the law is called the ACA, it generates far more support than when it is called Obamacare. Jonah Goldberg, writing in USA Today:
CNBC polled two different groups, using "ObamaCare" for one and "Affordable Care Act" for the other. Forty-six percent of the group asked about "ObamaCare" opposed it. But only 37% of those asked about the health law opposed it.
Conversely, ObamaCare had higher support than the law. As CNBC put it, Obama's name "raises the positives and the negatives."
There is a good reason for this, as Goldberg explains:
The same poll found that 30% of respondents didn't know what the Affordable Care Act is - while "only" 12% didn't know what ObamaCare is.
This means that NPR is explicitly favoring a term that the public does not understand over one the public does understand. AP is more even handed, but is also avoiding the term that the public understands best.
The best efforts of these pols and their media allies won't matter. Everyone knows Obama pushed this, that it is his baby, and that he continues to defend it. "Obamacare" it is and forever shall remain. Can anyone remember the official name of the act that came to be known as "Hillarycare"?