In the first presidential debate of the 2012 election, President Obama and former Governor Romney went head-to-head on issues ranging from taxes for the middle class to how much government should be involved in regulating Wall Street. This first debate held high stakes for each candidate, as historically debates can serve to predict who will get ahead in the polls and ultimately become the next president.
The ongoing health care issue was a hot topic during this evening’s debate, its significance underscored as the candidates frequently referenced it to back up their platforms. The issue deeply polarizes voters as they face the critical question of how they’ll pay for routine and emergency medical expenses.
The importance of how Medicare, Medicaid, and the so-called ObamaCare Act will function in the future could not be overstated for the future health of the nation, with Obama saying outright, “I want to talk about Medicare…because that’s the big driver of our deficits right now.”
A frequently-quoted $716 billion was one point of difference between the candidates, and a touchy subject at that. Obama took it from Medicare and transferred the sum to help pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, a move he defended during the debate. Romney blasted the president’s decision, saying he would return it to Medicare and give states the ability to make their own decisions concerning health care for their citizens.
Of Romney’s plan for Medicare, Obama was highly critical, calling it a voucher program that couldn’t keep up with inflation. He also threw around a $600 figure several times, saying he saved seniors that amount in prescription drug costs, and Romney’s plan would be making them pay that $600 and more.
Romney’s health care plan starts pretty simply – he has said that on his first day in office he will repeal ObamaCare. He also wants to let seniors choose either a private health care plan or Medicare, letting Medicare compete with the private sector. Romney said ObamaCare was too expensive, that it cut money from health care for seniors, and that an unelected board would be telling people what kind of treatments they can have. He also said it has killed jobs and hurt small businesses.
Obama replied to these points with his own. He gave the merits of ObamaCare, such as “insurance companies can’t jerk you around,” pre-existing conditions are covered, and children get to stay on the plan until they are 26. He praised the Cleveland and Mayo Clinics for their innovative approaches to health care while skeptically asking Romney what exactly he will replace ObamaCare with.
Each candidate has a track record for how they will treat the complex health care issue and its different facets; Obama with his last four years in office, and Romney with how the state of Massachusetts fared under his governing. Each man believes that they are for the underdog, the typical hardworking American who needs the correct amount of intervention from the government to be able to live for the pursuit of happiness. Voters will soon decide whose vision for America they believe in as they choose who will lead the nation for the next four years.