Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 9, 2013

If you love it, stop calling it 'Obamacare'

Here’s a fairly simple concept for supporters of that persistently troubled health-care law with the glitchy website: Stop calling it “Obamacare.”

For sure, that’s a tough pill for fan girls and boys to swallow. There are legions of stubborn partisan Democrats who want the law to work — an admirable goal, given the realities of the uninsured landscape. We get that. But in casually adopting or accepting one of the more derisive political-messaging terms in recent memory, faithful surrogates are refusing to put it to rest.

In that sense, it’s worth wondering whether supporters are interested in making certain the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does what it says or if they’re more interested in preserving its creator’s political legacy. These are two vastly different goals — the latter as politically impolitic as the incessant Republican effort to repeal it.

I’m not exactly sure what possessed Democrats to essentially validate the term for Republicans. And while African-Americans clearly embrace the name for obvious reasons, as illustrated in a September Pew poll, the election is over. President Barack Obama got re-elected. Now on to the task of getting people insured. Ultimately, black folks are only 13 percent of the population, so it doesn’t really matter to that entire dominant half of all white folks who don’t like “Obamacare.”

Hence, the brand finds itself stuck in a ditch of bad association. It’s probably too late to turn back from it, the name forever burned into the national consciousness — from its bad website to a string of bad news about millions suddenly losing policies when Obama said they wouldn’t. And we can attempt to extrapolate morsels of spin from any crumb of polling data suggesting the public actually loves the law (they just don’t know it yet, right?), but the fact is that the nation is still either divided or undecided. When Real Clear Politics averages all the latest polling data on the health-care reform law’s rollout, 51 percent of Americans are against it and 42 percent are not.

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