Health Policy

Is it the PPACA or the ACA or Obamacare?

19179427The health care reform law enacted in March 2010 is known by many names: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA, the Affordable Care Act, the ACA, or, sometimes, “Obamacare.”  The first version of the law was called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  This ungainly name was then shortened to the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) when the law was amended.  Unfortunately, most Americans don’t think health care is yet affordable, so this is not a wonderful name.  Marilyn Werber Serafini of Kaiser Health News explores this issue in an intriguing article called “Rebranding ‘Obamacare’.”

The term “Obamacare” is usually used by opponents of the law, but it was recently reported that the White House had purchased this search term from Google AdWords.  (Actually, you don’t purchase search terms, but present the highest bid to Google.)  When you search for “Obamacare,” the first ad displayed takes you to HealthCare.gov, which is the HHS website for reform.  Try the Google search for “Obamacare.”

 So let’s assume that the ACA acronym remains.  Perhaps we can encourage the federal government to begin a contest to find a new name.  My colleague Janet Davis has few suggestions.  She is the acquisitions editor at Health Administration Press and she has to be creative every day to solve editorial problems such as finding names for new concepts in health care management.  Janet and I came up with some suggestions for a new name for the ACA acronym, including:

  • A Care Act
  • American Care Act
  • Assured Care for Americans
  • Accountable Care Act (not to be confused with Accountable Care Organizations which are part of the ACA)
  • Aligned Care Act (Alignment between hospitals, doctors and health plans is a goal of the ACA)

My favorite suggestion came from Janet: “Awesome Care for All.”

What are your suggestions for a new name for the ACA?

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