On many an erstwhile occasion, President Obama has remarked upon his political adversaries’ healthcare-related vernacular and insisted that he is one hundred percent copacetic with Republicans using the term “ObamaCare” versus the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care. … If the other side wants to be the folks that don’t care, that’s fine with me. I do care” was a familiar refrain back in 2011, and it was only two short months ago that he was once again admonishing Republicans’ jargon: “Once [the law is] working really well, I guarantee you they will not call it Obamacare,” he said, supremely confident that it would be Republicans who would eventually want to dissociate his name from what they would come to acknowledge as a spectacular law:
Right now, however, it looks like Democrats are going to be the ones to blink first on the precise terminology, as Politico notices today:
With the president’s approval ratings at record lows, a broken website and Obama under fire for his pledge that people could keep their plans, the “Affordable Care Act” has returned.
The president didn’t say “Obamacare” once during his nearly hourlong news conference last week, while he referred to the “Affordable Care Act” a dozen times. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went so far as to correct David Gregory on “Meet the Press” Sunday on the proper terminology. And White House talking points distributed to Democrats and obtained by POLITICO repeatedly refer to the Affordable Care Act in suggested sound bites, not Obamacare. …
Now, the phrase is vanishing from official use. White House website posts in July (“Obamacare in Three Words: Saving People Money”) and late September (“What Obamacare Means for You”) called the health care law the O-word. But now HealthCare.gov is almost entirely scrubbed of “Obamacare” and the law is called the Affordable Care Act in nearly every instance. Health insurance exchanges run by states don’t use the term Obamacare at all. …
White House aides said there’s been no internal guidance about which term to use.
That may be true, and both the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for Action are still going about their usual campaign activities with “ObamaCare” on their lips, but with both the law’s and the president’s approval ratings taking a tumble and Democrats trying not to collectively panic, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more Democrats and Obama officials jumping back on to the original anti-“ObamaCare” bandwagon:
On Tuesday, one top Democrat, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, acknowledged that the website for the exchanges needed to be fixed, but he also apologized after he referred to the law as “Obamacare.”
“I’m sure that if I were a Republican, I would yell and scream about it as well. They don’t like Obamacare. I think Obamacare — strike that — the Affordable Care Act, I’m sorry I called it that. I think the Affordable Care Act substantially is a good piece of legislation that will prove to be very beneficial to the American people,” Hoyer said during a briefing with reporters. When asked why he apologized for using the term, Hoyer said: “I think it’s a pejorative, I think it’s used as a pejorative. Obama says Republicans will stop using ‘Obamacare’ as soon as it starts working.”
To be sure, Hoyer never hopped onto the “Obamacare” bandwagon since the president signed it into law more than three years ago. But Democrats, who don’t seem to be using the term as much as they did last year, have good reason to say “Affordable Care Act” instead.
Oh, how the tables have turned.
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