5 healthcare takeaways from the third Democratic debate

Healthcare was a major topic in the third Democratic presidential debate in Houston Sept. 13.

Here are five takeaways from the discussion on healthcare: 

1. All the candidates want to carry the torch of the Obama presidency on healthcare. "I know that the senator [Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts] says she's for Bernie, well, I'm for Barack. I think Obamacare worked," said former Vice President Joe Biden while promoting his plan to add a public option to the ACA.

In her rebuttal, Ms. Warren positioned "Medicare for All" as an extension of the Obama legacy. "We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed healthcare in America and committed this country to healthcare for every human being," Ms. Warren said.

2. California Sen. Kamala Harris was the only candidate to address the Trump administration on healthcare. "Everybody on this stage, I do believe, is well intentioned and wants that all Americans have coverage and recognizes that right now 30 million Americans don't have coverage," she said. "But at least five people have talked, some repeatedly on this subject, and not once have we talked about Donald Trump." She criticized the president on his efforts to repeal the ACA, which would have eliminated protections for people with preexisting conditions, among other changes, if passed without a replacement plan.

3. Mr. Biden focused on critiquing the cost of Medicare for All. "My plan for healthcare costs a lot of money. It costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $30 trillion," he said, referring to the estimated price tag associated with Medicare for All.

In response, Ms. Warren positioned the plan as reducing total costs for middle-class Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took a slightly different tack, defending the plan as cheaper than the current system. "Joe said that Medicare for All would cost over $30 trillion. That's right Joe," Mr. Sanders said. "Status quo over 10 years will be $50 trillion."

4. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker briefly touched on disparities in healthcare. "We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation from healthcare to the criminal justice system," Mr. Booker said. Mr. O'Rourke called out the disparities in maternal mortality for black women in America. "I'm going to follow [Democratic Texas Rep.] Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundation," he said.

5. Candidates agreed action was needed on gun control. There was some dispute over how to do this, whether through executive action or otherwise. Mr. O'Rourke, whose hometown of El Paso, Texas, was the site of a recent mass shooting, vowed to ban assault weapons. "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," he said.


More articles on leadership and management:

145 CEOs to the Senate: 'Take action on gun safety'
Poll: Biden's plan draws broader support than 'Medicare for All'
Trump may have abandoned plan for healthcare overhaul, Washington Post says

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