Why Call the ACA ObamaCare? Medicare is Not Called JohnsonCare.

Why Is ObamaCare Called ObamaCare, but Medicare and Medicaid Not Called JohnsonCare or Social Security, RooseveltCare?

Medicare and Medicaid are not JohnsonCare; Social Security is not RooseveltCare. Why call the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare?

Likewise, why not remember FDR and his progressive New Deal every time we think of Social Security.

Why does one Democrat get a healthcare program named after him and the other Democrats who expanded our safety net not have their names remembered?

The answer becomes even less apparent when we realize that the ACA was based in part of programs like RomneyCare (Mitt Romney’s Republican health plan).

Did right-wing Media not think this through before they started using Obama’s name to turn their viewers against the law based on association?

We explore those questions.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Nicknames

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are bipartisan laws made to protect Americans. Members of the Republican Party have made valuable contributions to all these plans.

In fact, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is based on Republican legislation. Much of it comes from Romney’s plan; the mandate idea originates from the Heritage Foundation.

However, that has not stopped the ACA from being nicknamed ObamaCare and associated with a single President and party rather than being seen for what it is, a bipartisan start toward “universal” health care for all. It is not “government” healthcare, but a system that doesn’t exclude people based on cost or conditions.

Barak Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.

The law took decades of bipartisan effort. Years of negotiations went into fixing and developing the Republican plan in Massachusetts signed by the then Governor, Republican Mitt Romney.

See What is ObamaCare? What is the Affordable Care Act?[1]

FDR’s New Deal and Social Security

Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, as part of the New Deal.

After the Great Depression of 1929, many people lost their savings and homes. Poverty, unemployment, old age, and other hazards were everywhere; many people felt that society had to act to protect its members.

Both Democrats and Republicans revised the original legislation over the years, and it survived Supreme Court challenges. It was repaired, not replaced.

Millions of Americans currently depend on Social Security for all or part of their income.

Should we call it FDR-Care?

LBJ’s Great Society and Medicare and Medicaid

Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965, after many years of bipartisan effort to put a national health plan in place. See The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid.[2] There have been many revisions to Medicare and Medicaid over the years. The legislation was far from perfect, but we did not replace it; we repaired it. Now Medicare is hugely popular. Millions of Americans rely on it for their medical care.

Should we call these programs that Americans love LBJ-Care?

Obama and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Plan (ACA) offers many benefits including stopping insurance companies from dropping people when they get sick, stopping discrimination based on preexisting conditions ending annual and lifetime limits and expanding coverage so more people are insured now the law is in effect.

See our article on Benefits of ObamaCare: Advantage of ObamaCare.[3]

Fixing the Hole That Allowed Talking Points In

Like all the other major bills safeguarding the American people, the ACA isn’t perfect. It has parts that we need to put right.

For ideas about which sections of the current law need work, see What is Wrong With ObamaCare and How do we Fix it?[4]

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it has a lot of provisions that the American public likes. Why don’t we focus on fixing what’s wrong with the ACA?

Once again we have a social program that we need to repair, not replace.

And we need to repair it without taking away the parts that improve on Medicaid and Medicare!

We can call the ACA ObamaCare, or we can name it TrumpCare, and we probably will if the changes aren’t good. However, in our polarized atmosphere, one can’t help but be frustrated with the political terms.


It is clear the term “ObamaCare” was a form of propaganda meant to associate President Obama with healthcare reform and get his opponents to stand against the law.

So it will be too for TrumpCare. However, a tit for a tat isn’t what we need. When political games are played for ratings and votes, the people suffer. If TrumpCare must stand for taking away human rights, giving tax breaks to the wealthy, and building a wall, so be it.

We may not see this today, but history will not forget.

We owe the American people more than nicknames; we owe them a health insurance program that works as well as Medicare or Social Security. Call it what you want. We need to discuss human rights, not partisan talking points.

There will be a section in the history books on whatever we call this legislation. Wouldn’t it be better if we worked together on a bipartisan repair of the Affordable Care Act and focused on people, not politics?

Article Citations
  1. What is ObamaCare, What is the Affordable Care Act
  2. The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid
  3. Benefits of ObamaCare: Advantage of ObamaCare
  4. What is Wrong With ObamaCare and How do we Fix it?

Author: Linda DeSolla Price

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