California Health Care Reform Needs a Better Name

OK. I know a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And that a rose is a rose is a rose.

I get it. Names aren’t everything. The debate should focus on a piece of legislation’s substance.

Fine. But after nearly a year of debate and negotiations, couldn’t someone have come up with a better name for California’s comprehensive health care reform package than the “Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act?” 

What were they thinking? Don’t they realize that every name over three syllables gets reduced to an acronym? When Congress the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996 they gave us HIPAA (“Hip Ahh”). That’s an acronym that works. When they passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, they result was “COBRA.” An A+ acronym. And the list goes on.

The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act? No one is going to take the twenty five minutes required to say all that. It cries out for an acronym. But come on, “HCSCRA?” How do we pronounce that? “Hick Scraw?” “H C Scray?” “Hic Sic Ra?” Anyway you work it, it sounds like an insult. There’ll be fist fights in the parking lot over this one.

While waiting for the Legislative Analyst to determine if ABX1-1 insults the state’s budget, negotiators need to meet around the clock until they come up with a better name for the legislation. If necessary, they should head down to Hollywood. There’s a lot of good writers there with time on their hands. Maybe they could come up with something that works.

But I don’t think they need outside help. The folks working on California’s health care reform plan are smart. They’re creative. They’re talented. Surely they can come up with something that doesn’t sound like a slur.