Looking under the hood of “Cadillac” usage in healthcare debate

January 12, 2010

For car buffs, “Cadillac” and healthcare are probably not a natural mix, even in the context of financing.

For healthcare debaters, “Cadillac” has come to describe high-end insurance plans that either need to be taxed or left alone depending on the viewpoint. GERMANY/

Well, according to several (online) dictionaries, the word Cadillac used in this manner is actually slang.

Cadillac, those dictionaries inform, is the name of the French founder of Detroit — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac — after whom the luxury car was named.

Cadillac in the American psyche conjures up a symbol of success and luxury from a time when the long cars roamed the streets without worrying about gasoline prices — so perhaps the word has a bit of an old-fashioned ring now.

But that hasn’t stopped all the buzzing in Washington over the “Cadillac” health insurance plans.

The unions are against taxing the higher-end health insurance plans, others see it as a way to fund healthcare overhaul.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann (vintage Cadillac Eldorado)

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