Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 25, 2010

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.... Legislative milestones need good names. We all know what Social Security is. We all know what Medicare is. But the new health care reform law will generally be known as ... well, that's less than clear.

It has a name, of course. Formally, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law this week. But Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act doesn't exactly roll off the tongue the way Social Security and Medicare do. For that matter, PPACA isn't helpful, either. The right prefers "ObamaCare," but needless to say, that's not likely to stick.

I noticed Matt Yglesias had this item this morning:

Tuesday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) seemed prepared to concede the point that conservative politicians were not, in fact, likely to repeal the Affordable Care Act's ban on insurers discriminating against applicants with pre-existing medical conditions. This, of course, implies accepting the basic structure of the whole shebang -- to make it work, you need the mandate and to make the mandate work you need the subsidies... [A]s Ramesh Ponnuru argued in his initial pushback from the right on Cornyn you simply can't keep the pre-existing conditions bit without accept the entire basic structure of ACA. [emphasis added]

I hadn't really noticed until this morning, but it looks like Matt has been using "Affordable Care Act" all week.

This works for me just fine. "Affordable Care Act" is accurate and descriptive, and it comes from the actual legislative name. ACA is a perfectly memorable abbreviation, too.

So, should we run with this forevermore? Or does someone have a better idea for a name?

Steve Benen 10:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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Comments

Teddy Roosevelt had "The Square Deal."

FDR had "The New Deal,"

This administration will be, well, you know, "The Big F-ing Deal."

In all seriousness this should be the Edward Moore Kennedy Affordable Care Act."

Posted by: kevmo on March 25, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

You mean besides the "Permanent Democratic Majority Act of 2010"...?

Posted by: Steve on March 25, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

It works, because it leaves room for more ambitious reforms in the future. "The Effective Care Act" or "The Universal Care Act," for example.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 25, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with kevmo--I will always think of it as "The Big F***ing Deal"

Posted by: Terry on March 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Implicit in this would be Cornyn's realization that this will be a popular reform and he wants to get Obama's name off of it before does.

Posted by: JoeW on March 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Mandate. The Insurance Initiative.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on March 25, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I think it would be quite humorous to make the GOP run against the Affordable Care Act. (Though I really prefer The Big F-ing Deal, myself.)

Posted by: sue on March 25, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

BFD

Posted by: Bill on March 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure the New Deal is not the New Deal Act of 1933. So I think the bill should be renamed the Edward Moore Kennedy Affordable Care Act (maybe it can be done in the Reconciliation since it has to go back to the House), but it should be forever known as the Big F--king Deal.

Posted by: Chris on March 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think it should be called "Patient Protection."

It's a program that should be identified, roughtly, by what it does or offers, just like Social Security.

You go to the doctor and show your Patient Protection card, upon which is written your name and your P.P. Number.

What do the Republican want to shit-can? Social SECURITY and Patient PROTECTION. Good luck with that, Slappy...

Posted by: mass on March 25, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The Road to Socialist Hell Act

Posted by: mister moonlight on March 25, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, and although apt, these names don't 'roll off the tongue' either:

"Health Insurance Greed Mitigation Act"

"Toward Reversing Societal Class Separation Act"

"Welcome to the First World in Health Care Act"

Posted by: terraformer on March 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

I thought it was called either Armageddon or the "Sarah Get Yer Guns" act.

Posted by: qwerty on March 25, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

The Teabagger Nightmare

Posted by: cr on March 25, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Affordacare?

Posted by: eric on March 25, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think Affordable Care Act sounds fantastic. If we had framed the debate by calling it ACA from the beginning (Or, y'know, talking about health INSURANCE reform), this thing probably would've been signed last Summer.

Posted by: Kris on March 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I'm actually okay with calling it Obamacare. The Republicans meant it as a pejorative, but I say we put the President's name on what's destined to be yet another perennially popular program.

Posted by: EarBucket on March 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

How about:

The GOP Death Rattle Act

Posted by: Stevio on March 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

You go to the doctor and show your Patient Protection card, upon which is written your name and your P.P. Number.
I refuse to show my PeePee card to anybody.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on March 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

We should call it Speedoo. But its real name is Mr. Earl...

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on March 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

AffordaCare?

Posted by: Bruce on March 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Metacare. Call it that so it will be an easy transition into Medicare for all.

Posted by: doubtful on March 25, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

The word "health" needs to be included. Affordable Healthcare Act. AHA sounds better than ACA.

Posted by: Dave on March 25, 2010 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The right's worst nightmare is it turns out to be popular and remains known as Obamacare.

Posted by: anon on March 25, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I would be happy with "Obamacare", but with this fall's campaigns in mind, why not "Americare"?

Posted by: Newton Whale on March 25, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Put me down for PelosiCare. She's the real heroine here. I think it's a nice "in your face" to rightwingers, too.

Posted by: jhnwlk on March 25, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt the citizenry will have a name for this bill.

No name will catch on because... there's nothing needed to be referred to by name.

I know you want to claim this is "great legislation" but all the other pieces of great legistlation you reference actually created new Federal departments or administrations. So people needed a common name to refer to those depts. This bill does do not as there is no public option or single payer.

In light of the (deserved) credit for this bill that people are giving you, perhaps you should start to push for single payer or a public option.

Then you can have your name. Trying to compare this single bill to the New Deal is needy.

Posted by: Observer on March 25, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I think Dave did improve it a little. I like having the word "health" in their too, and AHA(A-Ha!) is just as simple as ACA. Please force it into the lexicon ASAP.
Although I think BFD will live on as well.

Mine probably won't work--the "Republicans Can Blow Me Act of 2010"--I'm hoping to have one for every year through 2016.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 25, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I like Obamacare. I use it, and so do others. I think it's going to stick.

Posted by: Paul in NC on March 25, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Americare sounds good too. But I would also like to see them get a PO or Medicare buy-in added, and soon(pre-2014), before that name would truly be appropriate.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 25, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

To Sir With Love

I prefer Obamacare.
But I'm odd...
I love it when the slime at the bottom of the teabag acknowledge Barack as "The One" or "The Chosen One."
What they think of as cutting edge snark...
I think of as proper southern obeisance.

Posted by: koreyel on March 25, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'd love to have it be called "PelosiCare" as well, if only because I know it would grind the ass of most of FOX's audience and those FOX-loyal relatives -- face it, we've all got a couple -- who are convinced (with no evidence, mind you) that she's some kind of Hellspawn. However, given what the teabag lunatics have been doing the past week, that might actually put her life in danger, so I'll vote for ACA.

(Plus, the two words ("affordable" and "care") are not only descriptive, but it might also convince some of the duller people out there who claim to oppose it that a.) it is not going to bankrupt the nation and b.) in most cases it's going to be beneficial to them.)

Posted by: electrolite on March 25, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

My favorites from the thread so far:

The Big F*cking Deal

Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA does sound better than ACA)

Patient Protection Act

And in the short term, Affordable Care Act works for me, too!

Posted by: June on March 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad the Dems didn't start w/Medicare for All... then the name would have been self-evident.

But I agree w/the plurality of posters: the Affordable Healthcare Act- AHA- has a nice ring to it.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on March 25, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I like AHA (for it's "A-ha" and "Uh-huh" factors...) but that "F" is pretty powerful: when Chase Utley used a similar phrase (much more publicly) after the Phils' '08 championship, they became known to Phillie-bloggers as the WFCs (the W = world, C = champions) for the rest of the year, and that team will probably always now be known as the WFCs...
but ACA's good too...

Posted by: ulrich on March 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Obama's Huge Package Act, since we know the GOP is sensitive about its own shortcomings in that area.

Posted by: shortstop on March 25, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ulrich- what's little known is that, when Utley said the aforementioned Anglo-Saxonism, he spelled it 'Phucking.' Y'know, to keep it clean.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on March 25, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

The interesting thing about the use of ObamaCare is that the Republicans have successfully branded it with Obama. If it is successful or well-liked, eventually, then for years to come people may refer to it as ObamaCare, potentially, increasing the positive view of him as time goes on.

Posted by: Easa Dara on March 25, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Obamacare! I endorse Earbucket's reasoning.

Posted by: Cobwebhead on March 25, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

A great Doublespeak name. We will all embrace acts of Congress if they come with palatable names like the "Patriot" Act, or Comprehensive Immigration "Reform."

Posted by: Luther on March 25, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with ObamaCare, it has Obama and Care right in it and it also drives the wingnuts completely insane, what could be better.

I (heart) ObamaCare.
ObamaCare for Me and You.

Posted by: ScottW on March 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The "Affordable Care Act That Passed Without A Single Republican Vote."

Posted by: Churchyard on March 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

As an attorney, I am used to seeing these government acronyms show up in my legal briefs. With an eye toward what looks best in a brief, I think the name with the most potential longevity is Affordable Healthcare Act. AHA has a nice quick reference. But, I will alway cite the act as the Affordable Healthcare Act, __ U.S.C. __ (aka, the "Big F*ing Deal")(hereinafter referred to as teh "AHA/BFD")

Posted by: Scott F. on March 25, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Romney-care" - whenever you want to highlight GOP hypocricy.

Posted by: Ohioan on March 25, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Chase Utley used a similar phrase (much more publicly) after the Phils' '08 championship, they became known to Phillie-bloggers as the WFCs (the W = world, C = champions) for the rest of the year, and that team will probably always now be known as the WFCs...

They've been the Phucking Phillies for decades. Prior to October, 1980, they were the Phucked Up Phillies.

Posted by: J. Michael Neal on March 25, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Grab Your Ankles Act

Posted by: Marko on March 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

How about Unicare (for universal care).

Posted by: Missyjam on March 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Considering the fact that many bills that pass have titles that are pure lies (like the "Patriot" Act), I am in favor of a Constitutional Amendment banning titles and requiring bills to be referred to by number. But that's just me.

Or we could call it Fred.

Posted by: Tim H on March 25, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

How about the "Taxpayer Subsidized & Guaranteed Insurance Corporation and Big Pharma Profits Act".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

In the long-run "ObamaCare" is going to stick -- remind voters where credit lies (and "ObamaPelosiCare" is too unwieldy). The right wing will live to regret this (just once, but continuously).

Posted by: paul on March 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

If we're referring to the result of the legislation, rather than the legislation itself, it seems you would just drop the "Act". For instance, you would only say "Social Security Act" if you were referring to the bill that created Social Security and not the program itself. So in referring to the reforms of 2010, why not just call it Affordable Care? If Affordable Care becomes a relatively neutral term (ie, it becomes common parlance in the non-Fox media rather than just something Democrats use), it becomes even more useful in future campaigns, particularly Obama's re-election.

Obviously, Republicans will come up with their own clever little name for it, and calling it something as blunt as "affordable care" might be seen (perhaps rightfully) as a marketing ploy to those who are skeptical about how affordable health care is really going to be. However, calling it the Affordable Care Act at first makes sense, as it is an easy abbreviation of the actual name of the bill. It's not too blunt, since it is sort of understood that the name of the bill is going to emphasize the positive (think "Clear Skies Act"), and for the time being, we will be talking about the Act itself rather than its provisions. As the shift focuses to the implementation of the Act, it would seem to be a pretty natural transition to stop referring to it as an "Act" and leave it at "Affordable Care". The exchange in particular, as a government program (as opposed to just government regulations that make up the bulk of the bill), lends itself to a catchy name. Someone enrolled in the exchange isn't using the "Affordable Care Act", they are using "Affordable Care" (perhaps at affordablecare.gov), while at the same time referring to the broader reforms (as in, "the elimination of rescission was implemented as part of Affordable Care", even though that's more the "Patient Protection" part of the act).

I'm still not sure if that would be too blunt, but if people ultimately like the reforms, referring to them as "Affordable Care" won't be that controversial (although it still doesn't have as nice a ring as "Medicare", IMO). And the example of the exchange may not be the best, since it starts in 2014, with two intervening elections. So something as loaded as "Affordable Care" might be viewed a little cynically if it is adopted before people start noticing that health care has become more affordable. I guess I'm basically agreeing that "Affordable Care Act" is a good way to refer to it now, and if the shorter name catches on, either naturally or through conscious effort on the part of its supporters, then all the better.

Re: Obamacare. I agree that the Republicans are a little foolish to use this term so much, since the reforms will become very popular (and people still like Obama more than they approve of his job performance, so it doesn't necessarily cause a visceral opposition to the reforms by associating them with Obama). However, it would be better to emphasize that the bill is actually an accomplishment for the American people, rather than a personal accomplishment for Obama. I also have a feeling Obama himself would prefer that it not be called Obamacare.

Posted by: ibid on March 25, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry -- what's wrong with ObamaCare? Some of the best names come from slurs that are adopted by their targets -- "Yankee," for example.

I LIKE ObamaCare.

Posted by: jim Pharo on March 25, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think it will become to be known as National Health Insurance.

Posted by: Gridlock on March 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

This is easy:

Medical Security.

Posted by: MFA on March 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

one word, four syllables: AffordaCare

Medicaid, Medicare, Affordacare.

Posted by: els on March 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I like it. Though what about "Patient Protection Act"

Posted by: Andrew Slack on March 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think we'll have to keep Ted Kennedy out of this: EM-KACA is too easy a set-up.

Looking at the big picture, as the country's health-care system: AmeriCare is already taken. Perhaps Eminent Domain can be invoked to take the name.

Posted by: steverino on March 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

i had not actually read the thread when i posted last.
i like the AHA.
but i too, will always think of it as the BFD!

Posted by: els on March 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

How about "All Republicans Left Behind" ?

Posted by: Wes on March 25, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Anthem of California HCR Act of 2010.

Posted by: bob h on March 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I vote for "The Drive Republicans and Tea Baggers Batshit Crazy Act of 2010."

Posted by: AndrewBW on March 25, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

P-Pac (Patient Protection, Affordable Care)

Posted by: bruce k on March 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

They should have given it a name with the acronym "Jesus" so the Democrats could run ads saying the Republican incumbent "voted against Jesus" !

Posted by: H-Bob on March 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

PPACA = "Pea-Packer" as pronounced by a New Englanda.

Posted by: noncarb on March 25, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I like shortstop's "Obama's Huge Package Act." It might stop Republicans from complaining that it was crammed down their throats, and might even give the teabaggers pause. On second thought...

Posted by: Paul in NC on March 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I like Health Care Act.

Although, if we were able to embrace OSHA we can also handle OHPA. And like OHPA, Health Care will continue to be a good umbrella term that will accommodate future extensions and enhancements.

Posted by: little ole jim on March 25, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Unicare would be a nice thought...if it were not already a brand name for a WellPoint company. I don't think that's what we're going for.

Eventually, when we've got a comprehensive set of reforms (not just health insurance) to talk about, we can start calling it the "Fair Deal." It should include a single-payer program called "Americare."

Until then, I like ACA!

Posted by: ajw93 on March 25, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kennedy-Dingell has a nice ring to it.

Would be a fitting tribute to two families who were at the forefront of the (too long) fight

Posted by: Lucien on March 25, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

or we could call it fred

but everyone knew it as nancy.

Posted by: skippy on March 25, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Edward Moore Kennedy Affordable Care Act.
>>>>>>>>>>

oh great. Em-KACA

Posted by: katmom on March 25, 2010 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

NancyCare

Posted by: Piotrek on March 25, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

ACA is to close to both "caca" and "Macaca". Don't like it.

Posted by: exlibra on March 25, 2010 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I like Affordacare.

Posted by: Barbara on March 25, 2010 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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