Political Animal


March 24, 2012 8:47 AM Obama Campaign: Sure, Call it ‘Obamacare’

By Jesse Singal

A month and a half ago I asked in this space whether “Obamacare” is really a derogatory term anymore, and several commenters pointed out that progressives had started to reclaim the word (as did Obama himself during one speech last year).

Now, according to TPM, the Obama campaign has decided to fully embrace the Obamacare moniker.

Here’s David Axelrod in an email to supporters:

Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage. It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they’re 26, and that a “pre-existing condition” like an ear infection will never compromise their child’s coverage.

This has been the problem all along: explaining to a generally misinformed public exactly what’s in the Affordable Care Act. If calling it Obamacare is an effective way to get all this across, then this could be a smart move.

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.


  • Akran on March 24, 2012 8:54 AM:

    Calling it Obamacare is fine by me. Let's assume the SCOTUS declares it is constitutional, Obama wins reelection and Obamacare takes full effect. Decades from now, when millions of Americans lacking health coverage is a thing of the past, there's no fucking way the GOP can try to co-opt something called Obamacare.

  • Ron Byers on March 24, 2012 9:07 AM:

    I think it might be one of the best Democratic moves in the last decade. I hope all of us are loud and proud about the benefits of Obamacare whenever we talk to our friends, family and neighbors who only watch Fox.

  • Gummo on March 24, 2012 9:09 AM:

    This is great, I've been saying all along that the administration should embrace "Obamacare." It's catchy, easy to remember, and as more of the law takes effect, will only create more positive associations.

    The biggest problem with Obamacare is the delay in so many of its provisions taking effect. That has allowed for 2 years of misinformation and lies from the rightwing Kochsuckers. But slowly, the truth is getting out, as more & more people are affected (in a good way) by the law.

  • Thomas Green on March 24, 2012 9:13 AM:

    Obamacare was shoved down the people's throats by the Dem majority in both houses. It will most likely be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, even if Obama get re elected, the act will continue not to live up to its budgetary promises, ie. it will cost us more and more money, it doesn not represent real reform as Obama caved before powerful medical and pharma lobbies to get it passed. It will soon be over whatever we call it and good riddence !

  • Solidsid on March 24, 2012 9:20 AM:

    Mr. Green....rant all you want....being loud and strident doesn't make you right. Obamacare is a good law and better healthcare for the country. You'll see

  • R on March 24, 2012 9:29 AM:

    Yesterday I added my name to the "I Like Obamacare" petition (http://www.barackobama.com/I-like-obamacare), but wish it had a space for people to explain why. In my case, it's that my young adult self-employed son is now covered on my insurance. And no, I don't think Obamacare was "shoved down" my throat; it was simply passed by majorities in both houses, which is how our system works. Obamacare is not nearly perfect, but then the sausage coming out of our legislatures never is.

  • Nathan on March 24, 2012 9:38 AM:

    Wow, how tricky that petition is! It says, "Add your name" but only asks for your e-mail address and zip code.

    It's only on the second page you can add your name and address, but in order to do so you have to donate money!

    All my money this year is going to fight for the House in local races, and the Obama campaign has made it clear they're not helping House candidates.

  • kevo on March 24, 2012 9:39 AM:

    I have benefited, Mr. Green, because of Obamacare!

    My children now have health coverage through mine, and our family's health will now sustain itself through my children's 26th birthdays. A mouth full of cavities was treated, and vision has been a godsend, and my daughters have the ability to go to the doctor at $20 a pop, instead of the $150 a pop uninsured rate, and they don't have to go willy-nilly to a clinic setting!

    A dear friend of mine skirted death with a ruptured colon, had surgery to the tune of over $80,000 because they were uninsured. and worried about preexisting conditions when it came to reversing the colostomy, qualified for insurance so he doesn't have to carry around a bag for the rest of his life.

    No, Mr. Green, Obamacare was not "shoved down the people's throats" as it came from a legislative process performed by the duly elected representatives in our People's House. You, Mr. Green, seem to have gotten your talking points from a Koch Bros. script somewhere, and it only shows you haven't a real thought in your head when you throw down such silly language! -Kevo

  • Nathan on March 24, 2012 9:40 AM:

    Ummm, Mr. Green? Being "shoved down our throats by the Dem majority in both houses" is called democracy. See, the American people voted to have a Democratic president, House and Senate.

    Do you think they did that to enact GOP policies?

    If you don't like democracy, move to Iran.

  • stormskies on March 24, 2012 9:55 AM:

    Mr. Green is a perfect example of all those who have been 'misinformed', or not aware of, that actual reality of the Affordable Care Act. Yet another example of someone's whose 'intelligence' is nothing more than a collection of 'sound bytes' that emanate from the nature of our corporate media in general, and, of course, the rabid delusional hysteria of the right wing media such as the that sadistic monster called Rush Limbaugh.

    Here is a dose of actual reality about the Affordable Care Act has created that so many just don't know. It allocated 15 Billion dollars to the establishment of Community Health Clinics all over our country. And these Community Health Clinics operate on a sliding scale. This then allows for access to health care by those who are poor. For example I can go to my Community Health Care Clinic as see a doctor for $30.00

    Senator Barry Sanders was the senator who got this included in the AFC. And you probably have never heard about this because of the nature of our corporate media.

  • Fess on March 24, 2012 10:07 AM:

    Mr. Green - Before Obamacare, my 21 year old son had a major thoracic surgery (they opened his chest) really before the specialists were absolutely sure it was necessary. Why? Because he was going to age out of our insurance and the insurance was necessary to pay for this very expensive procedure and hospitalization. It turned out to be a Schwannoma and would have had to be removed eventually, but no one knew that at the time of the decision (Schwannoma: a benign nerve sheath tumor). The impending lack of coverage pushed a major medical decision. Generally speaking, that's a bad idea. I rejoice for all the other young adults who are now eligible for sensible medical care.

  • biggerbox on March 24, 2012 10:41 AM:

    Mr. Green echoes a theme that seems to be woven into the right-wing propaganda about Obamacare, that it was "rushed" or "jammed through" or somehow implemented suddenly, without enough prior discussion. I heard a similar comment this morning in a small-town man-on-the-street interview on NPR.

    As if there hadn't been an ongoing debate for over a decade about health care reform, long enough for Republicans to completely forget that the individual mandate was their idea in the first place, since it keeps people buying from a private insurance industry, instead of using a more efficient, cheaper, single-payer system?

    As if we hadn't spent long months during the bill's time in Congress, waiting for Joe Lieberman and friends like Olympia Snowe to come across with the bipartisan compromise they'd been promising, and promising, and then finally letting him kill the public option?

    Of all the stupid right-wing memes about the ACA, the suggestion that it happened in a hurry and the liberals rammed one through on them has got to be one of the stupidest. Right up there with "death panels".

  • pj in jesusland on March 24, 2012 11:09 AM:

    Republicans have a difficult time wrapping their minds around the idea that by spending money the government saves us money, and that by spreading costs across the population we reduce the possibility that any one of us will be be devasated by the cost of a serious illness.

    Many countries around the world actually find their government can deliver a good return on their investment of tax dollars in fundamental services like health care. It collectively brings costs down and improves overall health, as documented by US comparisons to a range of internal health metrics.

    Statistics don't lie, unlike ideological zealots.

  • mmm on March 24, 2012 11:12 AM:

    These are wonderful responses from people who know and have benefitted from the ACA. Too bad we don't hear more of this from media reports instead of asking people who don't know anything about it nor have used it. But, then, that would actually be real reporting. I hope the DNC is paying attention... these are TV ads already written for them.

  • Tom Marney on March 24, 2012 11:41 AM:

    "Methodist" started as a pejorative term, too. :P

  • Rick B on March 24, 2012 11:52 AM:

    I want to thank T. Green for his highly misinformed post. It has brought forth a number of great testimonials to the ACA of a type I have seen nowhere else.

    Keep up the stories and tell us more of the ACA successes!! There are thousands, but the media generally seems completely unable to write them.

  • Jimo on March 24, 2012 1:01 PM:

    You can't run away in fear when some people starting using "liberal" like it was a dirty word unless you want to live in a country where (A) very few people call themselves "liberal" while (B) the majority of people align with liberal positions.

  • JM917 on March 24, 2012 1:33 PM:

    Yes to Obamacare. But let us hope that it will be improved in years to come by adding a public option and by moving toward Medicare for All.

    Social Security, too, was not built all in one day. In Roosevelt's time it had many bad features, such as excluding farm and domestic workers (who were largely black), as well as by being extremely parsimonious. And of course it had no health-care component.

    Obamacare and the improvements that are going to have to come down the road will complete the structure that FDR began building in 1935. Will Obamacare be finished by 2035?

  • Doug on March 24, 2012 7:46 PM:

    I rather wonder if a major fear of Republicans is that if Obamacare(s) remains the law of the land, it's going to be much, much harder to destroy the industrial safety net; SS/Medicare/Obamacare(s)/any and all Federal poverty programs?
    Not that they won't keep trying...

  • goterpsgo on March 24, 2012 8:45 PM:

    @JM917: I can only hope... The Fed should also be allowed to bargain as a single entity for drugs and other health products and services. And I much prefer the term "completed."