Last night, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), returned to the debate stage. No, they’re not running for President again (at least not yet?). Yes, they duked it out over the future of America’s health care system.
What did they have to say about the Affordable Care Act, and why should we care? I’ll take you through the highlights and lowlights of the great American Obamacare debate below.
Whatever motivated CNN to host a debate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we’re all the better for watching. As Congress considers proposals that could ultimately leave 32 million Americans without health insurance, the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

With the Trump Administration still so vague on how they intend to replace Obamacare, Americans seek answers as Congressional Republicans talk repeal.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Photo by Gage Skidmore and Shared Under Creative Commons

“That’s why people are unhappy with this disaster of a law, because it’s driven up the cost of health care, it’s reduced your choice, it’s reduced your freedom, and this last election was a referendum on Obamacare, and the American people quite rightly decided this plan isn’t working.” – Ted Cruz
Senator Cruz painted a simplistic picture of socialistic oppression under Obamacare, a picture that wasn’t completely based on facts. He cited harrowing stories of people losing coverage and paying exorbitant costs. Cruz suggested a “right to try” experimental treatment law as a potential solution. He also floated measures to prevent insurers from canceling coverage for those who are already sick. Nonetheless, he still advocated a full repeal of the ACA. And in his artful evasions when pressed for further details, Cruz hinted at Republicans’ current struggle in determining a path forward on health care reform.
Photo by Andrew Davey

“Let me get right to the point. Senator Cruz, like most Republicans, has said that he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or so-called Obamacare.  Let me tell you what that will mean to the American people.  It means that if you are one of 20 million Americans who finally has received health insurance, forget about it, you’re gone. You’re off health insurance.” – Bernie Sanders
Senator Sanders conceded America still faces access and affordability issues today. He also stressed the ACA has made progress in expanding coverage and driving down costs. When asked of how to fix the kinks in the current system, Sanders repeatedly pointed to a British or Canadian style single-payer system as an alternative. Nonetheless, Sanders stated his preference of Obamacare over the real possibility of Congress repealing Obamacare with no comparable replacement.

All in all, this debate shed light on this critical matter of health care reform.

With Nevada at risk to lose jobs, health care coverage, and federal funding if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act, Nevadans deserve to know more details on what Congress may or may not do. Senators Cruz and Sanders offered starkly different ideas on fixing America’s health care system. After last night’s debate, it’s unclear whether Congress and the Trump White House are any closer to answering what, if anything, they intend to replace the ACA with.