What's in a name? The Evolution of 'Obamacare'

CLEVELAND - Do you know these celebrities? Carlos Erwin Estevez, Reginald Dwight, Paul Hewson, Georgios Panaylotou, Natalie Hershlag, Eldrick Woods, Destiny Hope Cyrus, Robert Zimmerman, Demetria Gene Guynes and Walter Willis.

Who?

What if I said, Charlie Sheen, Elton John, Bono, George Michael, Natalie Portman, Tiger Woods, Miley Cyrus, Bob Dylan, Demi Moore, and Bruce Willis?

Okay now try this one: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

What?

Oh yes, Obamacare, of course.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the lengthy official title of the legislation that became United States health care law in 2010. 

It was bound to get a nickname, but when exactly did ‘Obamacare' become the go-to reference for the 2010 health care reform law?

According to an August 2012 article from the New York Times, the term was first used in a political sense by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney back in 2007.

In fact, there was ‘Hillarycare" too:  "At the time, Mr. Romney was arguing for more incremental changes in the health care system to avoid what he saw as the more radical approach of the Democrats. "It'll be what's known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare or whatever you want to call it," he said," reads the article.

A quick Google search of the term ‘Obamacare' will bring you to a number of government websites, including healthcare.gov, the main site where folks can sign up for health coverage through the federally run health insurance exchanges.

According to a 2010 news article by The Weekly Standard, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services actually bought a Google advertisement that directs people searching for "ObamaCare" to pages with local health insurance information and the government health and human services website.

In 2011, President Obama himself embraced the term at a campaign event saying, "I have no problem with folks saying, 'Obama cares.' I do care. If the other side wants to be the folks that don't care, that's fine with me."
In 2012, Obama's presidential reelection campaign ran a Twitter campaign urging supporters to complete the line "I like #Obamacare because…" and tweet it. There were even bumper stickers and t-shirts with the phrase "I like Obamacare" on them.

And according to CNN, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation showed that from July 2009 to June 2012 the term "Obamacare" was used nearly 3,000 times in congressional speeches.

Earlier this week, at an event in New York, the president gave a speech at an event with former President Bill Clinton and used the term several times.

"You're seeing some Republican governors step up and saying, I may not like Obamacare, but I'm going to go ahead and make sure that my people are benefiting from this plan. So that's one good thing that's happening," said the president.

Love it or hate it, it looks like the term "Obamacare" is here to stay.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments