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Listener to WUSF: Please Don't Call It Obamacare


Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have derided it from the beginning as "Obamacare."

Recently, something interesting happened. Supporters of the ACA, even President Obama, began to adopt the term "Obamacare" as well.

At that point, "Obamacare" began being used by NPR as well as media outlets throughout the country.

But former University of Michigan professor and Sarasota resident Stephen Cooper wrote in to say why he thinks we still shouldn't use the term:

The law is actually the Affordable Care Act.  It is not a law enacted by Obama, but it is a law passed by a majority of members of both houses of Congress.

The use of the term Obamacare is used by opponents of the President (who wish him to have only one term) by making it seem as if this law is the work of one man, who ran rough-shod over the laws and Constitution of the United States. 

That is far from the case.  By the members of the WUSF news team using the term Obamacare, they perpetuate this image which is not true.

If one ran a poll which asked whether a person wanted Obamacare, it may be quite negative.  But if one asked whether one wanted Affordable Care (i.e., healthcare) for the entire population of the United States while saving money and getting rid of uninsured free-loaders using emergency rooms when they do not have health insurance, you would get an overwhelming positive vote.

Words have meaning.  Take for example Hitler’s telling the world that all the German people want is Lebensraum, which means living space, and who could be against anyone wanting living space?

Imagine that you were in Germany in 1933-1939, and worked at a radio station and merely reported that Adolf spoke again about the need for Lebensraum, and left it at that.

If you were a good reporter you would note the build-up of the army and the air force and the possibility that these would be used to take over land from Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, to mention nothing of land from Russia.  So words have meanings, and one should know what these meanings are.

I did hear your point that Obamacare has become the general term, and perhaps it is also used by Democrats and supporters of Obama, and perhaps even Obama himself.

But that does not justify your using the term which in truth obscures the truth of the origins of the Affordable Care Act and its true import for the United States.

Just because the Democrats are stupid in using this term does not mean you should be equally stupid.  You should rise above the fray, stand tall, speak the truth, and be honest with the American people.

If we persist in an Orwellian descent into the degradation of language, then we in the United States, and we in the world, are truly doomed in the long run.

Let WUSF be a beacon for other NPR stations around the world, talk to the other stations, and ask their opinion on how things should be worded.  Perhaps you will have allies, and perhaps you will be the start of a sane approach to political discussion.


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