Ex-Obamacare boss wants to change the name of ...'Obamacare'

In this Jan. 15, 2014 photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about enrolling in affordable health care coverage during a news conference in Detroit.
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In this Jan. 15, 2014 photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about enrolling in affordable health care coverage during a news conference in Detroit.

Now she tells us she hates the name!

The woman who ran Obamacare until last spring now says that program's popularly used name is a "bad" brand that should be scrapped.

"Obamacare, no question, has a very bad brand that has been driven intentionally by a lot of misinformation and a lot of paid advertising," former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday at Politco's "Lessons from Leaders" event, according to a story posted on Politico.com .

"I think we may need to call it something in the future different," Sebelius said.

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"But it is working," she added, boasting of the drop in the number of uninsured people in the United States as a result of the law.

Politico didn't mention if Sebelius suggested any alternative names for Obamacare at its event.

Obamacare is a name that was first widely used as a pejorative by Republican opponents of President Barack Obama's landmark health care reform law. But Obamacare since has been picked up by the general public and even supporters of the law, including Obama himself.

In an October 2012 presidential debate with GOP challenger Mitt Romney—whose own version of health care reform while governor of Massachusetts is known as "Romneycare"—Obama used the word several times.

"And the fact of the matter is that, when Obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down," Obama said during the debate, referring to health-care costs.

The full name of the law, which is rarely, if ever used, except by hard-core health care wonks, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, of PPACA. More commonly, the law if referred to as just the Affordable Care Act.

Repeated public opinions surveys have shown that people who react negatively to the word Obamacare are markedly less negative when asked their opinion of the Affordable Care Act, or the health-care reform law.

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In May, a Marist poll conducted in Kentucky for NBC News found that 57 percent of registered voters had an unfavorable view of Obamacare. But when the poll asked voters in Kentucky about their views of "kynect," the state's Obamacare insurance exchange that sells health plans, a plurality of 29 percent said they had a favorable impression of that marketplace, compared to 22 percent who had an unfavorable view of kynect.

"Call it something else, and the negatives drop," said Marist pollster Lee Miringoff at the time.

As head of HHS, Sebelius oversaw the major parts of the Obamacare program, including the establishment of the federal health insurance exchange HealthCare.gov, and the law's heavily subsidizing the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to include more poor adults in that health coverage program.

Sebelius resigned in April after overseeing the first season of Obamacare enrollment, which began with the disastrous launch of HHS's HealthCare.gov health insurance exchange, and ended with more than 8 million people having selected insurance plans.

While the Obama administration considered the end result a success, the technological debacle that left HealthCare.gov unable to enroll meaningful numbers of people for the first two months left a cloud over Sebelius' tenure.

Read the Politico story on Sebelius here.

-By CNBC's Dan Mangan