Obamacare, What’s In A Name?

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Americans are a fickle lot at times and often just downright stupid. This is clear when they are polled about the same thing. Most Americans favor “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” while the majority don’t favor “Obamacare.” Given that they’re the same thing, this makes little sense. Or does it? Let’s face it, there is a large amount of Americans that for either racist or political reasons just hate Obama.


Republicans are keenly aware of this and chose to call the former the latter knowing full well that using the president’s name conjures negativity for some immediately. It just sounds ominous for many. However, for around a year, Democrats and Obama himself have turned it around and have begun using the term themselves in an attempt to turn it from insult to a brand name to be proud to own.

Obamacare mentions on social media

Now three years after “Obamacare” was passed, the term is considerably less popular on social media then the “Affordable Care Act,” according to a new analysis for Bloomberg Businessweek by online marketing consultancy Kontera. In the week leading up to October 1st, and the launch of the new health-insurance-buying exchanges, there were two positive mentions of Affordable Care Act for each negative one on Twitter, Facebook’s public posts, blogs, and other Internet sites that Kontera conducted its research. Excluding neutral comments, “Obamacare” got 56 percent positive mentions and 44 percent negative mentions, according to Ammiel Kamon, Kontera’s executive vice president for marketing and mobile.

Is that to say that both Obama and Democrats erred in its choice of “Obamacare” as a label? That’s a tough nut to crack. Firstly, of the 15 percent of Americans who are not online largely view “Obamacare” as a negative. That is certainly not surprising. If Kontera’s numbers are accurate, it seems that both the administration and Democrats have largely removed the stigma of Obama’s name. It is also only a single measuring metric, and positive mentions on social media don’t necessarily translate into support for the Affordable Care Act. In fact, a recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed that 47 percent of Americans oppose the law compared to a support of only 45 percent.

Either way, “Obamacare” is being talked about at great length. Kontera reports that “Obamacare” received more social media mentions than the hugely popular Breaking Bad, even with the show reaching its series finale. The two were even paired last week when Saturday Night Live brought in “Jesse” to make a cameo in a spoof of Obamacare.

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