Regarding healthcare, GOP debate brings little more than 'repeal Obamacare'

The remaining four Republican presidential candidates convened in Detroit March 3 for the 11th and final GOP debate. No candidate discussed healthcare extensively. There was just one mention of "healthcare" and 10 references to "Obamacare."

Most comments on the subject were consistent with the candidates' past remarks, pledging to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform.

The debate was contentious, with Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) urgently waging attacks against frontrunner Donald Trump, who they see as an imminent threat to the conservative party. Mr. Trump seemed impervious and delivered personal attacks of his own, repeatedly calling Sen. Rubio "little Marco," and Sen. Cruz "lyin' Ted." Moderator Megyn Kelly repeatedly had to ask the contenders not to speak over one another. Ohio Gov. John Kasich largely stayed out of the quarrel, claiming he was the only one acting like an "adult on the stage."

Various media outlets presented conflicting opinions of who ultimately won the debate, with The New York Times suggesting perhaps there were no winners.

The candidates' comments regarding healthcare policy were neither surprising nor novel in the last debate. "As president, I will repeal every word of Obamacare," said Sen. Cruz, arguing the healthcare law has forced single moms, among others, to work multiple jobs because their hours were reduced as a result of certain mandates under the Affordable Care Act. "I will repeal the biggest job-killer in America."

Sen. Rubio commented in like, saying, "If you go on my website,, you will see a real plan to fix our taxes, to roll back regulations, to repeal and replace Obamacare, not just lines around the states. Serious policies and proposals."

Sen. Cruz, in an effort to pit opponents of the ACA against Mr. Trump, said, "If you don't like Obamacare, Donald Trump funded Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi taking over Congress to pass Obamacare."

Mr. Trump then accused Sen. Cruz of supporting U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who "gave us Obamacare."

"He was the primary supporter," Mr. Trump said of Sen. Cruz. "He pushed John Roberts, and pushed him, and pushed him, and Bush ultimately appointed him. He got appointed. And when it came his time to raise his hand and kill Obamacare, not once, but twice, [Chief Justice John Roberts] let us down, and he did the wrong thing."

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