According to Kaiser Health News, Democrats have reached Stage Eight of the Seven Stages of Legislative Grief:  Rebranding.  Because no matter how unpopular your legislation is, it's nothing that can't be cured by coming up with a better name.

Democratic pollsters concede that there is a problem.

"We do need a common narrative that includes a name," said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. "When Obama's job performance improves, it will be fine to call it Obamacare. Now, it is polarizing."

Mark Mellman, another Democratic pollster, says that the title Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act highlights important aspects of the law, but that "it's wonky, clunky language."

Names of legislation, he said, should "summarize something important for people to organize their thinking."

Indeed, constructing catchy-sounding acronyms for legislation, as well as other things, is a long tradition on Capitol Hill.

In the early 1990s, Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) announced his health-care bill would be called the HEART Act. Asked by a reporter what HEART stood for, Chafee said he would figure it out later; the important thing was getting people to start using the warm-and-fuzzy acronym. In 1999, Sen. James M. Jeffords (R-Vt.) gave the Education and Labor Committee a new name - the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, or HELP.

These days, White House officials generally refer to the new health-care law as the Affordable Care Act. Blendon says that doesn't help Democrats much because "people don't believe the law will make health care more affordable."


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