Bob Franken

Health Care Acronyms Spell Out the Truth


Let’s consider the acronym. No, it is not a city in Ohio. An acronym is a clever set of initials for the title of an organization or endeavor. Often, it’s a clever set of initials in search of a cause.

A good example is CARS, which stands, of course, for Car Allowance Rebate System. That’s the official name of the “Cash for Clunkers” program.

There’s the well-known NIMBY — Not In My Back Yard– and the much-used MILF — Mothers I’d Like to Find. (Would you kindly get your mind out of the gutter?)

Special-interest groups adore acronyms. STOP is a favorite, as in Stop This Outrageous Purge (there’s always an outrageous purge happening somewhere). CRAP stands for a group that deals with Cheap Redundant Assorted Products, and I’m not making that up.

Another old standby would be the People United groups — people do like to unite. They call themselves things like PUMP (People United for Meaningful Progress) or some such. They are always countered by some entrenched special-interest group that should call itself People Opposed to Other Possibilities (figure it out).

Another obvious one would be DOC: Doctors Opposing Change.

How about Private Insurers Maintaining the Present System — PIMPS? They would probably secretly finance a group that rejects a public option, SAPS — the Society About Preventing Socialism.

Speaking of partisan use of the S-word, Republican strategists could form up to prepare their cheap-shot attacks. How fitting it would be in the health care debate if they called themselves the Group Organized for Pandering (GOP).

At least they know how to work together. The other side is as disorganized as ever, with factions engaged in the usual self-destruction. Let’s call them the Democrats Involved in Partisan Suicide. They could march under the DIPS banner. The problem would be getting them to go in the same direction. Some things never change.

Back to the private sector: All the opponents should band together and coordinate through a parent organization. How about American HealthCareReform Adversaries — “AHA”? It would have all the funding it needs to protect the status quo. So the name is particularly appropriate because as each of us realizes this is about money and not health care reform, we can exclaim, “AHA!! Now I understand.”

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