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The space in health care

Actually, I am talking about the space in health care

The Associated Press Stylebook still holds fast to health care as two words. And because it is a noun-noun combination, you would not want to hyphenate it as a compound modifier: health care initiative rather than health-care initiative

But look around. You will see increasingly that medical professionals and bureaucrats are fusing the term into healthcare. The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare. The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. There are still plenty of outfits keeping health care as two words, but I think we can see where this is going. 

This is not President Obama trying to steal the space between the words to rob you of your freedoms. Fusing compounds is an old trick of English, deep in its Germanic DNA. My guess is that the bureaucrats will ultimately prevail, partly because journalists reflexively echo them and pass the jargon into common discourse. 

But English is still a big tent. Keep health care as two words if that is your preference along with AP's, relenting only to observe the fused form in official titles of organizations. Or jump in the vanguard with the early adopters. Just take a little care to be consistent. 

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