He built his career in large part by plastering his name on skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, books, wines and steaks, but there appears to be one place President Donald Trump does not want his favorite five-letter word — the Republican health care bill.
Before Obamacare, there was Romneycare. Back in the 1990s, there was Hillarycare. For a brief moment in the 2012 GOP primary, there was even Obamneycare (Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty quickly abandoned the phrase and, in August 2011, his campaign for the nomination). But the White House, for all its messaging woes and infighting, has settled on the fact that — for the time being — it’s steering clear of Trumpcare.
“Pretty much anything with the pejorative suffix on it — ‘care’ — is going to be viewed unfavorably by conservatives,” said former longtime Mitt Romney spokesman Ryan Williams, who was with the Massachusetts governor when he signed Romneycare. Romney had hoped to tout it in his 2008 presidential campaign, and he campaigned on a promise to repeal Obamacare in 2012.
“Anything with the word ‘care’ in it pretty much sounds bad to people these days,” Williams said.
Trump and his team seem perfectly attuned to that risk. But conservatives rallying against the plan have filled the branding void with what they hope to be their own derogatory titles like Ryancare, Obamacare 2.0 and Obamacare-lite.
When asked during the daily White House briefing on Tuesday whether the White House would embrace the House GOP plan as Trumpcare, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price demurred.
“I prefer to call it patient care,” Price said.