08 Feb, 2017

The healthcare debate continues in the US

 -Bernie v Ted - healthcare reform

US Politicians were once again at battle last night, this time over health care reform. While Senator Warren worked to block Trump’s Attorney General pick, Bernie Sanders took to the CNN debate stage opposite Senator Ted Cruz.

Echoing the presidential debates, this debate was very timely with the repeal of Obamacare on the books. Cruz pro-repeal and Sanders, anti-repeal.

“The ACA has been a step forward, I say we should go further,” Sanders.

Cruz emphasized the downsides of the law throughout the debate, taking aim at Obama on several occasions. He argued that ACA and a single payer system would not solve issues around cost and was not really an effective plan for all.

He arguments included:

  • Obama’s signature health care promise was not true – “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Rated PolitiFact’s 2013 Lie of the Year.
  • Over 6 million Americans had their insurance policies canceled thanks to Obamacare. (PolitiFact Fact check states its 4.7 million)
  • Many eligible for Obamacare are covered by Medicaid
  • Premiums were increasing exponentially
  • “In 70 percent of the counties in America, on Obamacare exchanges, you have a choice of one or two health insurance plans, that’s it.”
  • Millions have been forced to work part-time, instead of full-time.
  • “Nationally, the health outcomes under Medicaid are really poor.”
  • 6 million Americans were fined by the IRS because of Obamacare

And to finish his argument…Sanders “helped write Obamacare.”

Sanders, a long-time advocate of the single payer system, and a self-proclaimed democratic socialist came out fighting.

  • “Women are considered a pre-existing condition by the insurance companies because they might have a baby.”
  • The public is not pro-repeal. They acknowledge and fight for improvements to ACA, but not a total repeal.
  • “The United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right.”
  • “Tens of thousands of our fellow Americans die because they don’t go to the doctor when they should.”
  • Healthcare spending in the US is at an all-time high, spending twice as much as many other countries.
  • Medicare is popular
  • The repeal would provide tax breaks to the top 2 percent

Sander’s also took a couple of pops at Sen. Cruz. He pointed out the variations in their own states. Texas has one of the lowest uninsured rates, whilst Vermont has the second highest rate of insured. As a socialist democrat, he was keen to emphasize that Cruz’s plans favor the top 1-2 percent, not the majority.

Healthcare has been a contentious issue, with the future of healthcare for many being unpredictable.

The two did agree on a couple of points, though. Firstly, that Americans should be able to buy drugs from abroad, that the FDA should permit the drugs approved by other regulatory bodies in other countries, and lastly that the government should be involved in drug price negotiations.

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