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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Ideas | The Word

Taking back ‘Obamacare’

Can the president make an insult into a selling point?

For five years now, “Obamacare” has been a dirty word in American politics: a term used by conservatives to dismiss President Obama’s agenda for health care reform. The bumper-sticker-friendly sentiment “Repeal Obamacare” has become a favorite mantra of Republicans on the stump.

In recent weeks, however, as the Supreme Court geared up to consider dismantling the health care legislation passed by Congress in 2010, the term “Obamacare” began popping up somewhere new: among the Obama team members themselves. What Obama’s advisers are attempting is an act of linguistic appropriation. They are trying to reclaim “Obamacare” as a positive term.

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