He didn't have a good name for it. His opponents grabbed onto the pejorative-sounding "Obamacare" and after a while the president said, somewhat amazingly, that he was all right with the crude moniker. He shouldn't have been - his acquiescence meant that the other side had basically commandeered the legislation's branding, which is turning out to be a stupendous blunder. Did he think it didn't matter? Did ego get the better of him? As a major component of the law takes effect next week, Obamacare has become the accepted shorthand - even among major media outlets - to the balky-sounding Affordable Care Act. Which brings up another major blunder. From political strategist Douglas Jeffe:
Something like "Americare" or "Health Security' might have caught on and saved the White House a lot of grief. The Affordable Care Act is a name that could only come out of Washington or an ad agency working for a shady insurance company. No real person uses the term affordable in their everyday speech. They might say "cheap" or "inexpensive." But "affordable" ? Give me a break. It's almost as warm, fuzzy and understandable as "sequester."
The most troubling aspect of the term "Obamacare" is that, in a highly polarized political environment, partisanship attaches itself to the program itself. Support and opposition to the ACA in the polls follow party identification and the program's favorability and unfavorability trend along with the President's popularity. Social Security and Medicare were every bit as controversial as the ACA, but they weren't identified solely with Franklin D. Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. After a few years of implementation and the realization that the dire warnings were groundless, these two big programs settled in and were accepted by the American people. This scenario seems far less probable for "Obamacare". GOP passions against the President are too deep to expect that the Republicans in Congress will ever let go of this bone.