The Affordable Care Act and whether or not it should be repealed have been key issues for both parties during the election and thereafter. Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders went head-to-head on primetime CNN to debate Obamacare.
As was expected, Ted Cruz urged Congress to repeal the ACA as soon as possible. Bernie Sanders urged that it be maintained. Interestingly enough, both sides tended to use valid facts to support their points, a more than slightly refreshing change of pace. The debate has been referred to as the Presidential Debate That Never Was.
The first key point of contention was over the will of the people in regards to the ACA. Bernie emphasized repeatedly that the majority of Americans appear to want Obamacare to remain, or at least not be removed until a suitable replacement is enacted. It is likely he was referencing a Kaiser Health Poll released earlier this year.
Ted Cruz pointed out Obama’s promise that everyone would be able to maintain their current healthcare provider/doctor ultimately proved untrue. Politifact rated it as 2013’s Lie of the Year. Nearly 4 million Americans received cancellation notices due to Obamacare. On the other hand, while Cruz claimed around 6 million American’s lost their insurance due to the ACA, it appears only about 2.6 million received actual cancellations of policies while of that number under one million ended up without any sort of coverage.
Another key point of the debate revolved around the effects of the Affordable Care Act on businesses, especially the detriment the act has had on small businesses. During the debate, CNN reports “LaRonda Hunter, who owns five hair salons in Texas, said she can’t afford to provide coverage to her employees because of low profit margins and that the Obamacare rule is preventing her from growing her business.”
Sanders reply was not favorable towards these small businesses.
“I’m sorry, I think that in America today, everybody should have health care. And if you have more than 50 people, you know what, I think I’m afraid to tell you, but I think you will have to provide health insurance…. Millions of businesses are being told by Democrats: tough luck,” Sanders said on the CNN debate. “It’s one of the most damaging things about Obamacare.”
A third point to the debate revolved around the high cost of developing new drugs. Studies indicate it can cost anywhere between $800 million to $5 billion, albeit a more likely figure is the one Ted quoted at around $2-3 billion per new drug. Both legislators agreed that something needs to be done in regards to “Big Pharma” and the out-of-hand costs of developing drugs. Interestingly enough, Doctors Without Borders believes new drugs can be developed for as little as $50-$186 million each. No doubt part of the inflated cost of new drugs is a combination of inefficiency, greed, and FDA regulations.
Both Cruz and Sanders recently voted in favor of legislation which would allow lower price prescription drugs to be imported from other countries such as Canada, though the bill was rejected by a 52-46 margin. Of the 13 Democratic Senators who voted against the bill, several of them are closely tied to Big Pharma, with one receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions from a drug company.
Despite drastically different views on the viability of the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that both men are looking out for what they believe to be the best for their constituents. And as demonstrated by their mutual support of the previously mentioned drug legislation, they can work together to improve the healthcare options for the American people.
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[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]