OBAMACARE. Quick. What’s your reaction to that word? After the Supreme Court’s ruling and President Obama’s re-election—the politically loaded 1-word term for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act seems to be shedding its obligatory quotation marks in news reports. But the fight over the policy isn’t over. I predict: Obamacare will continue as a major values issue in 2013.
The final history of this word can’t be written as 2013 opens, because its meaning and usage is evolving. As recently as August (just three months before the election), the official keepers of journalistic style at Associated Press judged the term this way: “Often used derisively by Republicans, so avoid it unless quoting someone. If the term is essential, say something like—also known as ‘Obamacare’—with quotes around the word.” However, other shapers of journalistic style—including the Poynter Institute’s Andrew Beaujon—have been charting the mainstreaming of the word. Mid-2012, Beaujon already was asking readers: “How did a sneering, partisan term become OK for everyone to use?”
However you feel about the term—and I hope you’ll tell us in a comment below—the law is alive and new provisions continue to come into effect. Will battles over the law make healthcare reform a top values issue this year, as it was last year? Tell us what you think in your comment.
States already are battlegrounds. Medicaid expansion is part of the Affordable Care Act, which enables millions of poor Americans to be covered by the program. Many of these are the working poor I discussed yesterday—Americans who work and would be ineligible for Medicaid but who don’t make enough money to cover basic necessities, including healthcare insurance. The federal government would bear the full cost of the new participants for the first three years, and much of the cost thereafter. But individual states can refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid coverage. And some states have refused.
Republican governors in 10 states have declined to participate in the expansion of Medicaid, affecting poor Americans who would otherwise be eligible in Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Maine, and Louisiana. All told, as many as 3 million Americans who would be eligible will not be able to get Medicaid coverage, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In contrast, the Republican governors of three southwestern states—Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada—have decided they will participate in the Medicaid expansion.
Here is how Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer framed her decision in a press release yesterday: “My concerns about the Affordable Care Act are well-known, but it is the law of the land. With this expansion, Arizona can leverage nearly $8 billion in federal funds over four years, save or protect thousands of quality jobs and protect our critical rural and safety-net hospitals. The business and health care communities are uniting with me in this effort because they know how important this issue is to Arizona.”
What’s your reaction to the word—Obamacare—as 2013 begins?
Will it be a top values issue this year?
Do you approve or disapprove of what the 10 resisting states are doing?
Please, leave a Comment below.
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.