obamacare vs. affordable care act

A failure to reach an agreement on funding The Affordable Care Act led to a government shutdown and a near economic collapse. Members of Congress had such strong, and opposing, opinions that America was put on the brink of disaster. The Affordable Care Act has been strewn across news everywhere, triggering an increase in public interest and opinion.

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel went “on the streets” to uncover opinions about the hot-button issue of health care. His crew polled random pedestrians  asking, “Which plan do you support: the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?”  The strong reactions the poll evoked wouldn’t be so disturbing if not for one simple fact: The Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the exact same thing.

These responses could be attributed to a few different things.  Uninformed voters could simply be taking random guesses in order to avoid looking out of the loop. Another possibility is the connotation surrounding the name of the President of the United States whose recent approval rate was around around 42 percent.

The Tea Party Republicans in Congress nicknamed the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare.” Even the name “Obama” invokes a variety of thoughts and opinions in Americans. Stapling the president’s name onto a controversial bill, whether a deliberate strategy or not, has had a notable effect on the Affordable Care Act’s public approval.

Having positive or negative feelings towards a bill solely based on the attached name of a political figure shows America’s strict bipartisan, and somewhat ignorant, state. Republicans seem to cringe at anything with the word “Obama” tacked on, while Democrats tend to wholeheartedly support it.

 However, Free State showed this isn’t always the case.

A poll similar to Jimmy Kimmel’s was circulated through the cafeteria. On the first day, 20 random students were handed an iPad, asked to anonymously give their opinions on health care.

Seven people marked that they prefer Obamacare.

Seven people marked that they prefer the Affordable Care Act.

Two people abstained.

Four people asked, “Aren’t they the same thing?”

The purpose of this poll was not to embarrass students. This one question quiz was given to examine the way people regard political issues. U.S. citizens are blindsided by political figures rather than the platforms. Two identical issues were viewed differently simply because of the personal feelings surrounding the nickname of the legislation. It was not necessarily the individual taking the quiz who was biased regarding Obamacare; the answers could likely be the results of skewed information sources. Today, it’s difficult to find an unconvoluted image on what the Affordable Care Act really is.

Here’s the breakdown:


The Affordable Care Act is a bill designed to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Americans. The Act lowers monthly health care payments, also known as premiums, for private health insurance. Children will now be able to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.  The Health Insurance Marketplace, a website created by The Affordable Care Act that offers health care exchanges, will cover all necessary benefits. Also, people will no longer be denied health care due to pre-existing conditions.

In 2014, individuals that have chosen to be uninsured will be fined. This is described as an “individual mandate” which means that the bill forces individuals to either do something or receive some sort of punishment. The individual mandate is one of the most debated aspects of the bill.

The reason behind insuring everyone is to prevent people from becoming too burdened by medical bill debt. Often, the uninsured end up in the emergency room when they could be treated in a doctor’s office because the emergency room will not refuse to treat anyone. This raises the overall cost of healthcare because emergency room costs are higher than that of doctor’s offices’.

The facts are out there, even if they’re difficult to find. Citizens can establish their opinions on controversial topics without simply adhering to the views of the political party with which they identify.