The Future of Obamacare: Cruz vs. Sanders

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Ivan Jimenez, News Editor

It was the showdown of the century – two powers, both feared and respected in their fields, battled each other at the bequest of roaring fans.

And no, this wasn’t talking about the Super Bowl.

Feb. 9 saw a heated debate between former presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. The debate, entitled “The Future of Obamacare,” took place in front of a live audience at the CNN-hosted event. CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderated.

Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas argued against the Affordable Care Act (often dubbed, “Obamacare”) while Sanders defended its merits. Their stances were clarified in their opening statements.

Sen. Sanders opened with his typical rhetoric of healthcare being a universal right, denouncing the United State’s inability to follow a socialist, European path of a state-run health care system.

“The United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right. I believe we should move in that direction,” Sanders expressed.

“The ACA [Affordable Care Act] has been a step forward. We have got to go further and join every other major country on Earth and say that if you are an American, you are guaranteed healthcare as a right, not a privilege,” the Virginia senator spouted, according to CNN.

Sen. Cruz, on the other hand, opened with his defense of private, free-market enterprise.

Roll Call/Getty Images

“I think health care works better when you’re in charge of your family’s healthcare decisions, when you can sit down with your doctor and decide the care that’s best for your family without government setting rules, without government rationing with wait periods,” the Texas senator explained, according to CNN.

Both Senators’ stances on health care are well known. Throughout the 2016 presidential election, they professed their controversial views with firm determination. This debate, however, was different. Instead of the routine bombasting we grew familiar with during the election cycle, viewers saw something foreign this time around – substance.

“The Cruz-Sanders debate Tuesday night got us closer to this goal than any election or shouting match of the past. We could and should have more of them, and soon,” wrote CNBC.

People appreciated the change, too.

“According to Adweek, the nearly two-hour special attracted 2.46 million viewers, and 932,000 from the coveted demographic of viewers ages 25 to 54…and they came not for a tabloid special but for a debate about health insurance,” reported the Washington Post.

Essentially, it was the debate we’ve always wanted, but never had – a real discussion about facts and logic rather than sound bites and empty rhetoric.

If we play our cards right, maybe we’ll see that in 2020.