The Corner

Reform Vs. Re-Form

This is really small beer, I know. But I think there’s an important point here. The word “reform” has the connotation of improvement, to make progress. This is one of the reasons why it is annoying when the press refers to conservatives and Republicans as “opponents” of health-care reform. It leaves unspoken — and sometimes spoken — the bias that the right is simply against making things better. Many liberals simply believe conservatives are the bad guys with evil motives. The way the MSM uses “reform” only fuels that impression (and confirms the sense the MSM agrees with it). It’s also untrue, as Ramesh and others have complained many times. The right has a great many health-care reforms in its policy arsenal. The right is not against reform, it is against the Democrats’ version of it.

So, in a very small way, I think it makes sense to refer to Obamacare as “re-form” as opposed to “reform.” This is the most neutral and objective way of describing it while keeping the word in play. The proposal will certainly change the shape of the health-care system, but it is unclear whether it will improve it. Hence the Democrats offer health-care re-form not reform.