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Lawmakers debate "Obamacare" -- the word and the law

Posted by: Eric Roper under Minnesota legislature Updated: March 8, 2011 - 6:43 PM

DFL and GOP lawmakers on the House Health Reform Committee took issue with "Obamacare" for very different reasons on Tuesday. 

Democrats disliked the word itself as a description of the health care reform law passed last year, which they by and large support. Republicans, meanwhile, just plain don't like the law.

During a hearing about whether the state should not fund programs associated with the law, several witnesses wore  "Defund Obamacare" buttons and referenced the bill as such in their testimony.

DFL Rep. Rena Moran asked Kim Crockett with the MN Free Market Institute to refer to the bill by its "proper" name, the Affordable Care Act, rather than Obamacare.

The committee chairman, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, countered that it wasn't necessary, as both terms are used often "in the media and colloquially." 

Later on, DFL Rep. Tina Liebling interjected that the word was "offensive in the way its used. And it's used in a very partisan way."

Then things got testy.

"I respect people’s sensibilities," Gottwalt said. "But I think there is enough common usage in society right now around this to say that either term can be used.”

Liebling shot back:  “Mr. Chair, I think I had the floor. I’m sorry, but it's quite unusual to be interrupted in the middle of a statement. I was about to end my statement by simply saying that from now on I think I will now refer to the Iraqi war as 'the Bush war' and say that over and over.”

“Rep. Liebling you’re out of order," Gottwalt responded. "That is so off-topic.”

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