In AP news reports, our preference is to use wording like “the nation’s new health insurance system,” “the health care overhaul” or “the new health care law.”
Terms like “Obamacare” and the Affordable Care Act have their downsides:
_ “Obamacare” was coined by opponents of the law and is still used by them in a derogatory manner. It’s true that the White House, and even Obama himself, have used the term on occasion. But the administration hasn’t totally embraced “Obamacare” and still uses the Affordable Care Act much of the time. We’re sticking with our previous approach to “Obamacare”: AP writers should use it in quotes, or in formulations like “the law, sometimes known as Obamacare, provides for …”
_ The Affordable Care Act is the official name of the law. However, its very name is promotional; opponents believe it will not be affordable for individuals or the country. Also, polling indicates that not all Americans know the law by this name. AP writers can use the term when necessary to refer to the law, but should do so sparingly.
Bottom line: terms like “the nation’s new health care law” are preferred.
(According to the AP Stylebook, “health care” is two words.)