When we talk about the Affordable Care Act, trips to the doctor, or the latest in eHealth, are we talking about healthcare or health care? Reputable publications fall on both sides of the fence, but it appears that the industry is trending toward healthcare. According to Grammarist, healthcare has gained precedence outside of North America; however, both the New York Times and HealthCare.gov adhere to the two word approach. Sometimes, health care appears as a noun (e.g., “Preventative health care is important.”), while healthcare is used as an adjective (e.g., “Find a healthcare professional near you.”)
The hardline English majors among us will likely continue to refer to the ACA as health care reform – after all, you don’t combine child care into two words – but the trend toward a one-word healthcare shows no sign of slowing. As pragmatists will point out, we used to insist on web site as two words. Eventually common usage won over, with the AP Stylebook announcing the change via Twitter – a story you can read on any number of websites.