The Affordable Care Act

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT…. Legislative milestones need good names. We all know what Social Security is. We all know what Medicare is. But the new health care reform law will generally be known as … well, that’s less than clear.

It has a name, of course. Formally, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law this week. But Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the way Social Security and Medicare do. For that matter, PPACA isn’t helpful, either. The right prefers “ObamaCare,” but needless to say, that’s not likely to stick.

I noticed Matt Yglesias had this item this morning:

Tuesday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) seemed prepared to concede the point that conservative politicians were not, in fact, likely to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s ban on insurers discriminating against applicants with pre-existing medical conditions. This, of course, implies accepting the basic structure of the whole shebang — to make it work, you need the mandate and to make the mandate work you need the subsidies… [A]s Ramesh Ponnuru argued in his initial pushback from the right on Cornyn you simply can’t keep the pre-existing conditions bit without accept the entire basic structure of ACA. [emphasis added]

I hadn’t really noticed until this morning, but it looks like Matt has been using “Affordable Care Act” all week.

This works for me just fine. “Affordable Care Act” is accurate and descriptive, and it comes from the actual legislative name. ACA is a perfectly memorable abbreviation, too.

So, should we run with this forevermore? Or does someone have a better idea for a name?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.