Is it Racist to Call the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare?”

  1. Home
  2. Culture Wars
By Emily Zanotti | 2:49 pm, January 9, 2017

There’s debate over exactly who coined the term, Obamacare, but it seemed to enter the gestalt around the time the law became wildly unpopular with right-leaning media superstars.

Some say it was Glenn Beck. Others say it was a lobbyist who initially used the term “Obama-care” in a trade journal, arguing that the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature achievement, would give way to a host of Republican alternatives, each titled with a carefully crafted derivative of “Hillary-care” the derogatory name given to then First Lady’s Hillary Clinton disastrous attempt at a national health care plan.

But when the law was being debated in 2009, everyone could agree that the term “Obamacare” was a pejorative, designed to communicate the eventual failure of the 2,000 page legislative package. And, it was probably racist, too.

Then-MSNBC prime time host Melissa Harris-Perry claimed the term was a “racial slur” on par with the n-word. “The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man,” Harris-Perry, claimed, “to render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.”

Huffington Post railed, “Don’t Call it Obamacare!” arguing that the term “arose as part of a disinformation campaign,” to discredit Obama’s achievement. Even Obama himself promised that, when he left office, the term would no longer be used, because the health care initiative would be wildly popular, and Republicans wouldn’t want him to get the obvious credit.

But now, it turns out, if you don’t call the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare,” you’re actually being racist.

New York Times op-ed columnist Charles Blow argues that moving away from the term Obamacare is what will deny Barack Obama the necessary credit, and that transitioning back to “Affordable Care Act” is a move on the part of those same wealthy white men to steal Obama’s signature achievement.

In fact, radio host Tariq Nasheed claims that the current debate over Obamacare and its long-term utility is, itself, racist, because it calls Obamacare into question.

Fortunately for both Obamacare’s supporters and opponents, the President has only one qualification for naming the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare—as long as the legislation remains completely intact. Any changes and he says the Republicans will have to rename the program, Trump-Care.

It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.