Health Care Is Now Healthcare | Health Affairs Forefront

Health Care Is Now Healthcare | Health Affairs Forefront

Dear reader:

In the spirit of being the bible of health policy, we have reached the Talmudic decision to change our style guide from “health care” to “healthcare.” This reverse-Solomonic decision to not split the baby arises from extensive analysis and consideration on the part of our ad hoc ADHOHC (Analysis to Decide Healthcare Or Health Care) committee, which we referred to as our ad hoc ad hoc committee — or, when we were in a hurry, the AH-squared committee (not to be confused with A-squared, the nickname of the city in which a certain highly regarded public university is located).

The full committee report can be found here, but we want to offer our readers a brief version of our analysis.


As with all important decisions in healthcare, our primary motivation was financial. As a journal, we pay authors by the word. Given the frequent usage of the term in our pages, we have calculated that collapsing health care into healthcare will save us $3.46.  Since we expect other journals to follow suit, we conservatively calculate the aggregate savings throughout the health sector to be $89.23.  Based on our recently published paper on national health expenditures in 2020, this translates into 0.0000000021637 percent of annual US healthcare spending. We are excited to do our part to bend the health care cost curve. Indeed, we are sharing our news with the Health Affairs Council on Spending and Value for incorporation into their final report.

Following The Leaders

There are times when it is best to lead, and there are times when it is best to follow the leaders. When it comes to editorial opinions, it is our opinion that, particularly when it comes to health policy, the Wall Street Journal is always right. Thus, we are pleased to honor their leadership by following their policy of turning health care into healthcare, just as they have consistently shown leadership in supporting policies that turn healthcare into profits.

Better Acronyms

Given that healthcare is an FFWA (field filled with acronyms), there are many advantages to changing from health care to healthcare. It’s not just that shorter acronyms are better, it’s that acronyms that include the character set “HC” are particularly hard to pronounce and make into clever titles. Why do you think they changed the name of HCFA? Or consider the fate of the Affordable Care Act. Instead of calling it ACA, which is a sound you make when you have a cold, we could be saying AHA!

Of course, we could simply adopt the practice of CMS, which elides one M (guess which one) for the sake of brevity and ease of pronunciation (try saying CMMI 10 times fast!), but ours is a more elegant solution.

Change For Change’s Sake

We acknowledge that a change such as this will be controversial. My 2021 Health Policy Valentine Tweet defending the dignity of health care received 376 likes, a personal record. I guess I’ll just have to eat my words, or, in this case, word.

But times change, and we have to change with them. We will stop fighting the forces of consolidation in healthcare and go ahead and consolidate health and care into healthcare.


Not very sincerely,

Alan Weil



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