Monday, October 19, 2015

Does Obama(care)?

Anthony Eliopoulos

Do you know what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act are? Well if you don't - which you probably should - they are two separate pieces of legislation passed by Congress which make up the foundation for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. I have always found the term Obamacare as a bit demeaning. Especially for a bill that would vastly change the broken healthcare system in America. As in the one that insurance companies had complete control over their clients and could deny coverage based on preexisting conditions. But that's neither here nor there. Obamacare sounds as if President Obama solely created this bill, and not thousands of professionals in the health field along with hundreds of elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate. So with that being said, should the term Obamacare continued to be used by the media?

A first thought to that question would be, who cares? It doesn't matter what we call it since it is what it is. Respectable media outlets like the New York Times have heavily used it and said they will continue to use it. Even the Obama Administration itself has used it multiple times so what's the fuss about?

As we all know, names are everything. Firstly, the term Obamacare was coined by conservative opponents of the bill. Which is not a problem, however, because that is something expected to be done and has been done throughout our nation's history. It's an understandable attempt to shift the narrative from look how this bill could make healthcare affordable for all citizens to this is something done by President Obama, and opponents of him will never forget that because his name is front and center. It is a sole political move for President Obama and his administration to use the term. It's something they had to do or it would like they were running from it, so instead, they owned it and made it their own. But that still does not give the media the right to freely use the term.

In every journalism ethics code, truth and accuracy are above everything. If that's 100% the case then there shouldn't even be a problem here. The truthful and accurate way to go about it would be to use the name the bill was originally given to from democratically elected law makers. Who knows what interest groups and how many focus groups were used to create the name Obamacare. The term clearly has politically intent to it and for a media outlet to surrender its ethics to help narrate that political intent is untruthful and inaccurate. 

The honest reality of the matter is that the name Obamacare should not have successfully obtained all the momentum it has gotten. Even though it may be a tough pill to swallow, the Affordable Care Act is the new law of the land and should be treated that way. With 8.8 million insured citizens that were not insured before the bill and premiums dropping, it now may be a safe time to regularly call it the Affordable Care Act because that's exactly what it's doing. But just like FDR and his New Deal, Obama's Obamacare will forever be etched into his legacy as President of the United States.

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