Debates 2020

The Presidential Debate Over Health Care Is Exhausting and Unserious

Biden spun the Supreme Court's role in health care. Trump dodged, distracted, and bullied. It was an unproductive slugfest.

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The health care discussion in last night's presidential debate was about as substantive as the rest of the debate, which is to say, not very. President Donald Trump bullied and bulldozed both moderator Chris Wallace and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, spouting fragments of belligerent nonsense, while Biden struggled to explain his own plans or make a convincing case for them. The back-and-forth unspooled like you might imagine if Statler and Waldorf performed a Samuel Beckett play while high. Here's a sample exchange:

Wallace: Please let the vice president talk, sir.

Trump: Good.

Biden: He has no plan for health care.

Trump: Of course, we do.

Wallace: Please.

Biden: He sends out wishful thinking. He has executive orders that have no power. He hasn't lowered drug costs for anybody. He's been promising a health care plan since he got elected. He has none, like almost everything else he talks about. He does not have a plan. He doesn't have a plan. And the fact is this man doesn't know what he's talking about. [crosstalk]

And yet, amid all the crosstalk, a few discrete points of interest did emerge. 

The health care discussion actually began with a question about filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump recently appointed Amy Coney Barrett, and Biden has argued that the seat should be filled by whoever wins the November election. 

Biden argued that appointing Barrett now would be a threat to Obamacare. The Trump administration is currently supporting a state-led lawsuit to overturn the law; the Supreme Court will hear arguments in November. Barrett, in this line of thinking, might shift the court against the health law, which has previously survived Supreme Court challenges by close votes.

Yet as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote yesterday for Bloomberg, there is little reason to think Barrett's confirmation to the Court would threaten the health law. This particular legal challenge is much weaker than previous challenges, and while Barrett has previously suggested that she might have supported overturning the law based on earlier arguments, there's no particular reason to think she'll accept this new, weaker case. Nor, in any event, is there reason to think that the rest of the Republican appointees on the court will do the same. One never knows exactly how the high court will rule, but at this point, Biden's argument is more of a scare tactic than a certain outcome. 

As the discussion over health care broke out into argument, Trump began to characterize Biden's plan. "The bigger problem that you have is that you're going to extinguish 180 million people with their private health care," he said, which taken literally does sound rather dire. Biden, he added, was "certainly going to socialist." Which, sure. Like you do. 

As is frequently the case, Trump's words were not the model of precision or clarity. But in this case we can probably take them as accusations that Biden supports a socialized health care system, a la Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I–Vt.) Medicare for All plan, which would wipe out most private insurance. Biden responded that this was a lie, at which point Trump pivoted, accusing Biden of representing a Democratic Party that supports such a plan. "Your party doesn't say it," Trump said. "Your party wants to go socialist medicine and socialist healthcare."

It's true that Biden supports adding a new government-run health insurance plan, known as a "public option," to Obamacare. Over time, the existence of this plan would probably lure some number of people from private insurance. Biden's plan has considerable drawbacks: It would probably be more expensive than his campaign estimates. It might destabilize the insurance market. It would certainly expand federal involvement in the financing of health coverage. 

But unlike the Medicare for All plan backed by Sanders and other Democrats, which would make private insurance illegal in the space of about four years, it wouldn't wipe out private insurance; Biden has repeatedly rejected that approach. 

Trump later returned to this line of attack, insisting that Biden had agreed to the Sanders position: "Joe, you agreed with Bernie Sanders, who's far left, on the manifesto, we call it. And that gives you socialized medicine." Biden's campaign did agree to a "unity" policy framework negotiated by representatives from both the Biden and Bernie camps, but even that document did not call for Sanders-style single-payer

Separately, Wallace asked Trump directly about his lack of a comprehensive health care plan. "Over the last four years," the moderator said, "you have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, but you have never in these four years come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan, to replace Obamacare."

Trump responded by insisting that he had—and then pointed to the repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate, which was zeroed out as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But eliminating the individual mandate is not a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare. Technically, the tax law didn't even repeal the mandate; it just set the tax penalty associated with it to zero. But Trump kept insisting that he had a plan, at times even suggesting that he had already enacted his plan to replace Obamacare, the main provisions of which, to be clear, remain firmly on the books. 

A casual viewer might not have picked up on much or any of this because it was delivered in disjointed chunks broken up by insults and interjections, with Wallace trying unsuccessfully to enforce some sort of order on the discussion. And the argument about whether Trump had a comprehensive plan is at least as much an argument with Wallace, who, as the moderator, struggled to get a question out: 

Wallace: Over the last four years, you have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, but you have never in these four years come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan, to replace Obamacare.

Trump: Yes, I have. Of course, I have. The individual mandate.

[crosstalk]

Wallace: When I finish I'm going to give an opportunity—

Trump: Excuse me. I got rid of the individual mandate, excuse me, which was a big chunk of Obamacare.

Wallace: That's not a comprehensive plan. 

Trump: That is absolutely a big thing. That was the worst part of Obamacare.

Wallace: I didn't ask, sir.

Trump: Chris, that was the worst part of Obamacare.

Wallace: You're debating him, not me. Let me ask my question.

Trump: Well, I'll ask Joe. The individual mandate was the most unpopular aspect of Obamacare.

Wallace: Mr. President.

Trump: I got rid of it. And we will protect people.

Wallace: Mr. President, I'm the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer.

Trump: Go ahead.

Wallace: You, in the course of these four years, have never come up with a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare, and just this last Thursday you signed a largely symbolic executive order to protect people with preexisting conditions five days before this debate. So my question, sir, is what is the Trump healthcare plan?

Trump: Well, first of all, I guess I'm debating you, not him, but that's okay. I'm not surprised. Let me just tell you something. There's nothing symbolic. I'm cutting drug prices. I'm going with favored nations, which no president has the courage to do because you're going against Big Pharma. Drug prices will be coming down 80 or 90 percent. You could have done it during your 47-year period in government, but you didn't do it. Nobody's done it. So we're cutting health care.

Wallace: What about preexisting conditions?

Trump: All of the things that we've done.

Biden: He has not done health care.

What are we supposed to make of this? What is anyone supposed to learn? How can you have better public policy, more effective governance, ideological disputes, arguments that matter when discussions are conducted like this? There are serious issues at stake, and serious discussions to be had about the government's role in health care. This is exhausting and unproductive. 

Last night's debate was not a platform for competing visions for governance or plans to improve people's lives. It was a socially distanced, geriatric mud-wrestling match, instigated by the president's fundamental unseriousness. Come to think of it, an actual mud-wrestling match might have been more informative. Or at least more entertaining.

In one way, however, it was educational: It taught us how poor the state of America's political discourse has become. 

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  1. Right Biden was sooo serious. He has a plan. For resurrecting ObamaCare, the failed law he helped pass. For the Green New Deal, the one he tried to disavow but we have his words and anyway Cameltoe Harris will be he guiding light. For packing the court, with his list of double secret nominees he’ll reveal after the election. For importing millions more immigrants who will vote democrat. For spending trillions we don’t have on programs we don’t need.

    1. Except you don’t have to resurrect Obama care. It is still alive and kicking. The only thing that has changed is the individual mandate. There are 23 million people on Obamacare.

      Trump promised to eliminate it and replace it with a new plan. Something he clearly has failed to do.

      As to immigration I am a pro immigration libertarian so I think we should have less restrictive immigration laws.

      Republicans and democrats are both big spenders they just disagree about what to spend it on.

      I am supporting Jo Johnston.

      1. Spell checker error.

        Jo Jorgensen

        1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…OPb after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

          Here’s what I do…>> Click here

      2. lol.. Only 7% of American’s use Obamacare yet Obamacare sucks up $1.76 trillion. And to think it wasn’t really THAT long ago; doctors came to your door for the price of a pizza.

        1. The ACA (Obamacare) has impacted a broad sector of the American people. It is more that the market place and mandate. It allows young people to stay on parents healthcare until 26 years, eliminated lifetime caps, eliminated preexisting condition requirements and provides no copays for preventive procedures. All this costs, but also yield significant benefits above the costs.

          1. Nobody said STEALING wasn’t beneficially to someone (usually the worst kind).

      3. There are 23 million people on Obamacare.

        Almost everyone who has insurance is “on Obamacare”. Virtually all insurance is subject to Obamacare regulation which defines the available plans. The 23M is the number of people who purchased subsidized plans through the government.

  2. Domestically, on healthcare, further abatement of Obamacare will cost millions of people access to their healthcare. To eat crow here, on behalf of the drafters of that legislation, it does seem that removing the individual mandate has not had a dramatic effect on the efficacy of Obamacare. I’m all for improving and finding better solutions to this problem, even if most of the evidence points to the idea that state run healthcare does nothing more than make healthcare cheaper for everyone. As a young, healthy person, who will some day consume more health care, and someone who cares about people in my life who consume health care, I think cheaper health care sounds good. Trump’s focus seems, squarely, focused on removing Obamacare not really on addressing the underlying financial strain that health care creates on millions of Americans every year.
    Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19) Guidelines according to WHO.

    1. I honestly think this is an advanced spam bot

      1. It’s a person who understands what the subject and the commenting venue/milieu is about, combs thru the nets for passages on the subject that would be somewhat welcome there, and then inserts them with a link to a clickbait site with downloadable memes. He’s like Chris Wallace in the debate, but without the antagonism.

      2. I’ve had some of my comments reposted word for word on the same thread by a bot with a different userid . Maybe it’s programmed to pick a few words from the op, grab a similar comment from the archive and post it’s spam. If true that guy should be hired as spam bot zapper.

    2. Replacing Obamacare is the biggest step in reducing the “underlying financial strain that health care creates on millions of Americans every year.” Obamacare turned the health situation into a ridiculous spaghetti factory of unneeded details of federal micromanagement injected into the system.

  3. Why is Suderman pushing for a health care plan so hard? Best case scenario for libertarians is if the government is winging it.

    I hope Trump was lying in this exchange:
    Biden: He has no plan for health care.
    Trump: Of course, we do.

    1. Suderman’s been concern-trolling us for years.

    2. His wife will box his ears if he doesn’t.

  4. >>It would probably be more expensive than his campaign estimates.

    ya think? why bother with the “probably” you know “probably” is false.

  5. “In one way, however, it was educational: It taught us how poor the state of America’s political discourse has become.”

    Political discourse would be relevant if any of our elected officials were actually interested in representing the electorate and pursuing sensible policies in the name of the people, rather than lining their own pockets and securing power for the sake of securing power.

    Discourse, facts, and rational arguments have no place in a Republic where the people are perfectly content to elect Kings. Look at the lunacy of the present Supreme Court battle, as an example. The entire dispute can be boiled down to which King should be entitled to appoint a loyal Satrap and, also, whether we should have more Satraps to balance out the unfettered power of the others. Everything, absolutely everything, is an extension of the King. Every battle is for or against someone vying to be King.

    The poor state of our discourse is a symptom of the fact that we, as a nation, have all but formally abandoned any pretense of self-governance. In practice, we have surrendered all moral and legal authority to the Executive, whose will is to be carried out by loyalists, and whose goal is crush internal enemies.

    1. Are they supporting kings? Or supporting parties?

      Monarchy vs Communism. I can comfortably say we are not heading for a monarchy.

      1. I think the American people, by and large, are quite comfortable with the notion that an unrestrained Executive should control the reins of government with the aid of loyalists strategically appointed or elected to subordinate positions.

        1. As long as the Executive is on their team, that is.

        2. They could even be called “czars”

  6. “Biden’s plan has considerable drawbacks: It would probably be more expensive than his campaign estimates. It might destabilize the insurance market. It would certainly expand federal involvement in the financing of health coverage. ”

    But that’s just nitpicking

  7. This is so simple.
    1) End the tax advantage of corporate health insurance.
    2) Give everyone HSAs and bring back High Deductible Insurance.
    3) Set a time limit on pre-existing claims for people who don’t have contiguous coverage (i.e. if I start up insurance with pre-existing conditions, the insurance doesn’t have to pay for 6 months or 1 year, or some sweet spot to be determined).
    4) Deposit money directly into the HSA for those “in need”.

    It isn’t by any stretch of the imagination “Libertarian”. But it at least re-introduces price sensitivity into health care, and it makes it so that the middle class is providing a market for health care innovation.

    1. In order for a market to work at pushing down prices, the majority of people need to be making price-based decisions. Right now the majority of people are not doing so. The price of the care they consume is hidden behind insurance premiums and tax-advantaged partial payments of their employer.

      A similar problem happens when the Government takes it upon itself to give the bulk of its population a service. As a libertarian, I am generally against welfare, but I can at least sympathize with the desire for a “Safety Net” for the truly unfortunate. We used to have that in colleges and medicare. But we have seen that once we start paying the government to provide services (like college loans) to even the middle and upper class, efficiency decreases and costs skyrocket.

      1. Great comment and just an FYI: We’ve had a “Safety Net” for centuries – It’s called a law the forbids doctors from not treating emergencies due to payment.

      2. Yep. In my perfect world, everybody’s responsible for their own care. Insurance would be way more varied and at the basic level can’t be denied, but after a certain expense, the government takes over future payments. That way the insurance companies have to cover everybody but know there’s a limit to the payments they must provide.

        1. until folks elect a politician to lower the ‘certain expense’ to $0

          1. And enslaves all people with jobs that produce that ‘certain expense’.

    2. “…and bring back High Deductible Insurance.”

      I’m not sure what you mean. The ACA did a pretty good job of introducing people to high deductibles along with high premiums.

      1. ^So true; The UN-affordable Care Act.

  8. >>which has previously survived Supreme Court challenges by close votes

    la-z-boy waiting in Hades for Souter

  9. It was a great debate and I dont normally watch those things.

    Trump hit on a strong US economy in spite of Democrats, Lefty violence, Biden corruption, Democrats running cities into the ground, Judges he got seated, and numerous lies that Biden said.

    Biden twitched, had his left eye shut on him, and looked sickly. Biden spouted lies are so easy to disprove he changed the lies mid-debate.

    Trump’s being reelected. Trump is winning more states than he did in 2016. Many of those mail-in ballots will be for Trump.

  10. Suderman is asking for the republican health care plan. Asking they have one is asking for government involvement. Suderman has surrendered to the liberals.

    1. You new here?

      Suderman hasn’t surrendered, he is a progressive statist.

    2. If Republicans think tens of millions of Americans should go without healthcare for stupid ideological reasons, why don’t they just say so? Why the desperate “new better plan” nonsense?

      Why, on so many issues, does your political party feel the need to outright lie about its intentions? Are its intentions at odds with any possible (small d) democratic appeal?

      1. Hint: You can get healthcare without having insurance.

        The fact that you equate the two just makes you dumb.

        1. You can’t get healthcare if you don’t have any money. Right now we’re only talking about kicking new Medicaid recipients off (because Black Man bad), but if you wanted to be consistent in your ideology, no poor person would even be admitted to an ER, right?

          1. It is damned hard to get anything of value without money.

            Have you considered seeking charity?

          2. Bullshit. Never heard of Medicaid?

            1. I was talking about Medicaid bro.

              1. You were, as always, lying, shitstain.

          3. B.S. – I find it humorous they’re so much pork in healthcare now; seems everyone doesn’t even notice a law passed more than a century ago about requiring doctors to preform emergency whether pay was available or not.

            But that will be the bandwagon (scare tactic) used to stuff so much pork on the healthcare plate next thing you know all we’ll be doing is paying for healthcare — oh, yep, already almost there.

          4. You can’t get healthcare if you don’t have any money.

            Why don’t you give them some? Only your greed prevents them from having your money.

      2. “”If Republicans think tens of millions of Americans should go without healthcare for stupid ideological reasons, why don’t they just say so? Why the desperate “new better plan” nonsense?””

        Perhaps they don’t.

        People who defend the mandate are defending the idea that government can force you to buy a commercial product and fine you for failing to comply. Just because you exist.

        1. Then what a merry time of misrule this is, since the whole idea behind Obamacare, formerly Romneycare, is to make a universal scheme as market-friendly as humanly possible, an idea meant to appeal to market-friendly politicians.

          But if you object on those grounds and would prefer we simply go to single-payer, what are we fighting about?

          1. Dude, you pretend that single payer is the only way to go. You are wrong.

            1. There are as many universal schemes as there are countries that have them, which is all of them except America, if we’re speaking of non-shitholes.

              History suggests that our path toward universality will require not a whole new program but building on what exists. That’s why Obamacare kept insurance alive. Not only did it not have a choice given their lobbying power, it would be very disruptive to kill an entire industry overnight.

              Of course they’re going to have to feel some pain since the whole point of this exercise is to introduce efficiencies, and that results in less private profits.

              1. LMAO! “efficiencies”???? The left has been bandwagon on “efficiencies” for over a decade and all we get from their progress is THE WORSE PRICE and generally WORST HEALTHCARE industry we’ve ever seen….

                If you think Obamacare works; then go do an Obamacare Startup Company….. Stop shoving your gov-guns at me – what do you think the point of that is???? GET IT OUT OF GOVERNMENT!

                1. The only reason government is involved is so that healthcare is not denied to people who are uninsurable. If you think the best possible form of a society means only the rich can afford healthcare, just say so.

                  1. “”If you think the best possible form of a society means only the rich can afford healthcare, just say so.””

                    He doesn’t.

                    If only you were as good at logic as you are at projection.

                    1. “…If only you were as good at logic as you are at projection.”

                      You misspelled “lying”.

                  2. I cannot live without food. I *can* live without health insurance. And thank fucking god that the government hasn’t gotten into the “Food is a right, we must give it to everyone” game, because then our food supplies would be as fucked up as Obamacare.

                    You people are the worst. 10 years ago, people right here were saying Obamacare doesn’t make sense as anything but a ploy to break healthcare so bad that liberals can force in Universal Healthcare. You liars denied it, and here we are 10 years later and you are still saying the same shit.

                    1. Government had gotten into the “food is a right” business. Jesus Christ. Sorry. Your worst nightmare is true I guess.

                      Food stamps, remember when they were your boogie monster of choice for shitting on poor people? They are a thing.

                    2. There is not “Universal Food Stamp Program”; but Bernie is trying to push one by re-enacting bread lines for ALL Americans… 🙂

                  3. …and a brand new car is denied to people who spend all their money on candy-bars and soda-pop and end-up not keeping enough money for that new car they should’ve bought instead!!!

                    OMG!!! HEAVEN-FORBID; they’ll have to drive an old used car or ride a bike – the horror of it all /s…..

                    As stated many times before; there has always been a law that required doctors to treat emergencies (cannot be denied) but you probably know that. So your desperate attempts at self-serving charity really end up being the desire to force people that did save and work to pay for that new car.

                    1. So yet again you are trying to justify a free market in healthcare by appealing to government mandates and monies that already exist to smooth down the edges of the system.

                      It’s starting to look very much like you have no plan and what plans you do have are inept.

                    2. Leave it to Tony to pretend their isn’t a difference between watching a man die by ignorant extortion and throwing/stealing money around.

                      Next thing you know you’ll be trying desperately to tell the world that laws against shooting people ( government mandates ) is what all these libertarians are against be it entirely false or not.

                      I’m thinking most of these compulsive ‘victims’ biggest hurdle in life is exiting their fantasy land and acknowledging a little reality.

                    3. This is simple. You can argue one of two things: a) A laissez-faire market will produce universal affordable healthcare for literally everyone including the destitute or b) universal healthcare is not a policy goal you value.

                      We know that progressives can deliver universality if given the political means. We know this because it is the norm in every other non-shithole country, not a one of them collapsing into an economic abyss but rather spending less per capita than the US.

                      There is no even theoretical model for a free market producing such an outcome. Markets don’t deliver anything universally without subsidy. They don’t work that way.

                      Maybe b) follows from valuing market purity over the lives and health of human beings. I’ll let you calculate the level of antisocial personality one must possess to arrange one’s values in this manner.

                    4. a) A laissez-faire market will produce universal affordable healthcare for literally everyone including the destitute…

                      EXACTLY how almost every-other needed item is produced (abundantly and affordably).

                      “We know that progressives can deliver universality if given the political means.”
                      1. Don’t you mean ability to STEAL? – what is the purpose of these so called “political means”????
                      2. We do??? Progressives have successfully passed HOW MANY healthcare policies to date??? And why are all those not considered?
                      3. The U.S. Constitution probably prohibits whatever you mean by “political means”.

                      “We know that progressives can deliver universality if given the political means.”
                      1. Don’t you mean, “We know that progressives can deliver SLAVERY if given the gov-guns to STEAL all labor.”

                      “We know this because it is the norm in every other non-shithole country”
                      1. What are doing here in the USA; MOVE…
                      2. Do you always live where you believe the biggest “shithole” is? The lefty movement is almost completely treasonous against the USA foundation. What are you all doing here? MOVE! Many here don’t want to sell-out our “shithole” for concentration camps….

                      “There is no even theoretical model for a free market producing such an outcome.”
                      COMPLETE LIE; The USA did for a full century and ended up being the best there ever was worldwide at the time.

                      “Maybe b) follows from valuing market purity over the lives and health of human beings. I’ll let you calculate the level of antisocial personality one must possess to arrange one’s values in this manner.”

                      This statement REALLY wraps up the whole underlying theology of lefties idiocy.
                      1. A human being who creates value to other human beings.
                      2. A human being who takes any value they can steal and creates/produces nothing.

                      The idiocy of believing #2 should be just as entitled and deserving as #1 and flying that belief into basic notions of human justice.
                      … contrary to laws-of-nature
                      … contrary to flat out common-sense and reason (someone has to make/create goods) and settling for catch phrases like “equality of human beings” activity instead of equal “individual justice” and freedom.

                      In lefty fantasy lands, “You didn’t make that!”, no one made that; it just fell from the sky so everyone deserves one. BECAUSE “working slaves aren’t human beings”…

                    5. If you think taxes are theft then you are necessarily an anarchist, in which case what the fuck are we even talking about?

                      You haven’t thought through any of this very well at all. Go read a book and get back to me.

                    6. Lefty: If we can’t write laws to STEAL your labor then you’re an anarchist, racist, sexist bigot.

                      Right: Law’s are meant to protect people from anarchy and theft.

                      And that blatant but obvious comment is most likely worth more than ALL the Marxist books you’ve ever read and will cause there 100-Million excuses to STEAL go tumbling into despair.

              2. “…which is all of them except America,..”

                Where good care, rather than a place in line, is available, lefty shit.

  11. The back-and-forth unspooled like you might imagine if Statler and Waldorf performed a Samuel Beckett play while high.

    Outstanding.

  12. Biden: He has no plan for health care.

    That’s an odd debate tactic, highlighting your opposition’s good points.

    1. Not only that, but he doesn’t have a plan for reopening the economy. Gotta have a plan!

  13. The feds have no business in providing ‘health care’ , or cars, housing , food, snack chips, paper towel, toilet paper, movies, garden supplies , beer , wine or whiskey, among other things. Then again, maybe they should send the last three to temper the pain of this ‘ new normal’.

  14. I thought removing the mandate and also allowing states to get medicines at lower cost else where would be a good start. sometimes you don’t need a big master plan just take little steps. slowly make changes till you get to where we need to be so that there is less harm with a single big move like the ACA was.

    1. Also Biden saying we need a plan means the first plan he was involved with, the ACA, was a failure so why let him at it again.

      1. There is also the problem that saying a candidate must have a comprehensive plan presumes deep government involvement in providing health care. Otherwise the President does not need much of a plan.

      2. This. This is exactly what I think every time I see a Biden for Prez commercial touting a new plan for healthcare. Why didn’t you do it right the first time then Joe?

  15. One thing you could learn from it is to not have Chris Wallace, but just a list of questions. Clearly Wallace was making it like he was one of the debaters. His question was, “What is [your] health care plan?”, which could’ve been put just like that to both entrants. Instead, he went on about Trump’s being an ineffectual shnook before asking when he stopped beating his wife.

    Seriously, why have a moderator at all? Just let the candidates go at each other and their statements, which they were fine at doing. All the crosstalk was much more informative than when they were directly answering the moderator.

  16. What a pickle Republicans are in, what with not believing that universal healthcare is a proper goal for a wealthy country at all, yet with the population disagreeing with them in pretty much all cases, except when his supporters feel that this or that group of brown people might benefit. Trump was caught in real time being surprised that repealing Obamacare meant the end to the parts everyone likes like preexisting conditions protections. How lucky then that they’ve decided that since the public has rejected their policy platform, they can simply outsource it to the judicial branch. Remember when “don’t legislate from the bench” was something they said and were expected to be taken seriously?

    Biden is all-in on what used to be called triangulation, though with the center shifted decidedly leftward since the 90s. Trump calls him a flaming socialist, and he doesn’t even come out in support of a new universal scheme. Pissing off the right for not being the radical they need plus pissing off the Bernies by openly shitting on their heads, that’s just entertainment.

    1. “what with not believing that universal healthcare is a proper goal for a wealthy country at all”

      So what is the point of posting this on what is an ostensibly libertarian site?

      1. You mean like how you’re ostensibly a libertarian but do nothing but voice support for jack-booted government thugs extrajudicially putting down protesters you don’t like?

        1. “protesters”
          You think up the cutest little names for the looting, arson and assaults your brownshirts are committing.

        2. Nice attempt at deflection, Tony. But answer the fucking question.

          1. I am one cocktail away from being a socialist and I’m more libertarian than you. I’ll decide for myself what counts as freedoms

            1. “”I’ll decide for myself what counts as freedoms””

              That statement says you are more that several cocktails into socialism.

            2. “I am one cocktail away from being a socialist and I’m more libertarian than you.”

              You’re a drunken lefty steaming pile of shit.

            3. I’ll decide for myself what counts as freedoms

              As expected, Tony.

        3. “You mean like how you’re ostensibly a libertarian but do nothing but voice support for jack-booted government thugs extrajudicially putting down protesters you don’t like?”

          No, we mean we call out fucking lefty lying pieces of shit like you.

    2. universal healthcare is a proper goal for a wealthy country at all

      Define universal. Any and all healthcare needs? Limited per person. What is your definition dummy?

      Or do you only talk in platitudes.

      Should we spend 10 million to extend a citizen’s life by one day? Is that considered part of your healthcare? What are your limits?

      I’m not shocked you avoid any depth to your arguments.

      1. How many more decades do you think you can sustain this reference frame where you pretend that no other countries exist, let alone every single one of our peers with universal healthcare schemes? Why don’t you go read an article or book or two yourself instead of insisting that I educate you on how this works?

        It’s just like education, which we provide for 13 years largely free of charge for every human. What do you want from me? The extensiveness of the program can be decided via democratic means. I would personally leave cosmetic surgery off of a public plan, but obviously not, like, ban people from buying it themselves, or whatever they want.

        Poor and old people not being sick and dying in the street is for you as much as it is for them. Think like you live in a community, because you do.

        1. “”Poor and old people not being sick and dying in the street “”

          Where is this happening?

          We have some programs for the poor. Medicaid, which is pretty good in NYS. Or if you have no insurance, take whatever financial statements you have to a FQHC and payment will be on a sliding scale. IIRC, it can slide to 0 payment.

          If you believe in the ACA mandate, then you should have an issue with those that do not comply with buying insurance.

          1. Sorry you can’t justify a libertarian ideology by appealing to the most socialist programs in existence in America. That is the same as saying those programs are necessary for your scheme to work.

            1. I’m not justifying anything other than why people think you are a dumbshit.

              1. Yet you’re the one with absolutely no serious proposal for how to prevent old people from dying of poverty.

                1. Nobody dies of poverty.

                  1. Sorry, “a diminished capacity to pull bootstraps.”

                2. …. and to think since 1878 till 1929 all those old American’s died because they didn’t have a socialist program to save them…. Oh wait; no, no they didn’t; they ended up launching the industrial revolution instead of the 2020 industrial CRASH 🙂

                  1. or should I say the Great Depression of 1930’s take your pick.

                  2. You’re just muttering gibberish.

                    1. Why do you deny reality so much? Is it part of your gangster-affiliation code? Or are you just denying it so you’ll personally get free stuff (ya know, like a fraud)..

            2. Called on bullshit again and now it’s “LOOK OVER THERE!”
              Are you really that stupid to hope no one sees that, you pathetic pile of shit?

              1. The hilarious thing to me is that for single-payer to work, we need to MASSIVELY expand our medical capacity.

                A huge libertarian argument is to stop artificially restricting the number of people who can be doctors so we can massively expand our medical capacity.

                Yet they won’t start with the obvious step of removing the restriction — which they will have to do if they get single payer anyway. It’s all or nothing for them.

  17. When has a televised presidential debate ever been a forum for reasoned discussion of detailed policy?

    These types of debates have always had lthe intellectual heft of a Twitter exchange, and it is unreasonable to expect otherwise from the limitations of the format.

  18. “what with not believing that universal healthcare is a proper goal for a wealthy country at all”

    What is the point of posting this on a ostensibly libertarian site?

    1. Meant for Tony.

    2. I’ve seen libertarians admit that their ideology requires them to advocate for healthcare access only to those who can afford it at the time they need it. I would like more of you to be honest about it. If your ideology is so great, then there should be no problem selling it, right?

      1. No problem at all, but I don’t see the point of doing it in the comments at Mother Jones or Salon.

      2. Universality requires it to be imposed on the population, because everyone will not agree that it. Forcing everyone to have something many do not want because you think it is good for them is not a worthy goal.

        1. Like education? I hate cops and prisons, should those be forced on me?

          1. What should be forced on you is what you prefer being forced on others:
            Poverty and mass murder.

      3. I would like more of you to be honest about it. If your ideology is so great, then there should be no problem selling it, right?

        Who, exactly, do you think you’re selling your ideology to?

        Also, once again, Tony’s schilling for ruinous business propositions built on fake money, shifty tax deals, and broken dreams just like his idol, Commander-in-Chief DJT.

      4. “no problem selling it, right?” — they do EVERY SINGLE DAY… They even do ‘billing’ and ‘loans’… They do it at supply stores, they do it at the dentists office, they do it where-ever it is needed.

        If you want people to NOT HAVE ACCESS to something you get the gov-guns to stop them or force them with no personal choice left.

  19. Obama and Biden did something stupid, wasteful, and ineffective.

    So now it’s Trump’s turn to do something?

    How about that something being “not doing anything stupid” and we call it good?

    Or, do we need to stop Megan from beating up her wife?

    1. Trump has the ACA in the courts arguing to strike the whole thing down. Whether that’s stupid is down to opinion, I guess.

      1. “Trump has the ACA in the courts arguing to strike the whole thing down.”

        Maybe there are now justices with enough sense to realize that there is nothing like a “penaltax”, and whining lefty shitpiles like you will shine some more.

      2. Here we see the true Rwason Tony is agitated. He’s fat and unhealthy and he is desperately worried about losing his gimmies.

  20. Seems like just yesterday Obamacare was the SOLVE-ALL, or maybe it was FDR’s, or any number of Democrats plans to “save” healthcare. How many sh*t-pies do we have to eat before we accept government has horrible ideas for healthcare.

    Trump’s gov-healthcare-plan idea is the best – Repeal the whole damn thing (or I hope that’s the Republican plan anyways).

    1. In the six years the Republicans held the house during the Obama administration, Republicans drafted and passed over 40 attempts to repeal the ACA. That’s roughly a repeal bill every two months.

      The moment they had a Republican in the White House, a Republican controlled Senate, and Republican controlled House? Those attempts to repeal the ACA stopped cold.

      They’ve told you loud and clear what their “plan” is. If you weren’t listening, that’s your own fault.

      1. Well, I’ll give them credit for being 1-vote (McCain) away from success. That one freak-en RINO ruined the whole thing in congress but they are still pushing for Constitutional Justice.

  21. In a JUST society; If you refuse to pay your doctor bill; it will be referred to a collection agency who can/will repossess for the bill. If you have no possessions and work but still cannot afford your doctor’s bill you BELONG down at your STATE’S welfare office.

    1. Ya know; just like the dentist industry works. What’s funny about “tooth healthcare” is somehow even going to a “specialist” in the field (i.e. tooth specialist) it’s still FAR cheaper than politicized general healthcare.

  22. The last healthcare debate Suderman approved of resulted in Obamacare. An exhausting and unserious debate is significantly better than exhausting and unserious legislation. So in fact we got the better option.

  23. Never have a people been so dumbed down and infantilized as the American electorate. Last nites theater between two childish crybabies, led by that gross, bankrupt, buffoon, the prez., is exactly what the insurance companies, hospitals and Big Pharma want, no substantive talk on healthcare for all and the immediate reduction of inflated, overpricing on everything health related. I suppose when the american life expectancy drops to 60, they may start to do something about instead of offering their usual gimmicks.

    1. lmao… Your “substantive talk on healthcare for all” was already forced down our throats in 2008 and all it resulted in was EVEN MORE, “overpricing on everything health related”…

      Ignorance of reality knows no boundaries.

  24. Biden position is clear even if he was unable to articulate in the debate because he was being talked over. We know this from other debates and interviews. Biden will retain the ACA, a plan that has grown to be widely accepted and liked by the American people (over 50% favorability). This is a market based plan that has it origins from conservative ideas. This is plan that can be built on to bring better healthcare at a lower cost. Trump has no ideas, just hot air. Again we know this from interviews and questions. The Republicans need to make peace with the ACA and instead of attacking it try to make points by improving its administration.

  25. I just don’t get all the fretting about “preexisting conditions.” As I understood its application before ACA, it only applied to people getting new insurance, or in some cases, changing from one plan to another; but in ALL the examples I researched, the “victim’s” preexisting condition would be fully covered after 18 months on the new plan.

    1. The left will keep fretting until full-on slavery is re-enacted. You know all those fraudulent ads about “send us all your money” and we’ll make your rich scheme’s. It’s the same ads posted by the left; give us all your labors and we’ll make you free.

  26. In one way, however, it was educational: It taught us how poor the state of America’s political discourse has become.
    What are you talking about?

    Trump behaved even worse last night then he did in the 2016 Republican Primary debates, but it was his bad behavior in those debates that got him the nomination to start with.

    This isn’t “America’s political discourse”. This is just Trump. Get almost any other Republican on that stage and you’d have a normal debate.

  27. If government health care is so much more preferable to free markets, why must it be implemented with force?
    If it is so good, why can they not persuade us without penal/taxes?
    And why did the legislators that forced it on us, exempt themselves from it?

    1. A fine argument for automatic enrollment in a single-payer program. Throw in a private option that meets certain standards and you couldn’t ask for more freedom.

      1. “Automatic enrollment” into a “payer program” = more freedom? Where’s the switch to turn-off “auto-slavery” and “pay-more program”?

        Where’s the “I’ll choose to enroll in x,y,z,etc program” or “I’ll choose to just pay-for what I receive”.

        1. If you think every public program is equivalent to slavery, you aren’t a serious person and there’s no reason to talk to you. Become more sophisticated. Or just jerk off to Donald Trump like everyone else around here. This childish bullshit gives me a headache.

          1. “no reason to talk to you” — I’ll fix that!!!! I’ll just “auto-enroll” you into my “talker program” lol…. 🙂 …and if you don’t like it; I’ll go lobby for gov-guns that will FORCE you into it.

            The correlation is undeniable; that’s why you’ve resorted to personal attacks. Someday Tony; down the road of learning about nature and life I’m guessing you’ll be a Republican or Libertarian or find yourself in a communist country making the same complaints we are making towards your comments today.

  28. The Democrats position isn’t unserious…maybe you forgot Obamacare. You were real serious years ago it would fail. It didn’t. Even your Republican cohorts haven’t been able to accomplish that. But you might still get your wish and get millions back on the uninsured list.

    Here is what is TOTALLY unserious…any Republican effort to improve Health care in this country. They’ve had YEARS to issue an alternative, and the results? Nada. Bupkis. Crickets.

    Stop with “both sides” BS. You don’t like the Democrats real implementation. That’s opinion. You’re equating that to Republicans seriousness is BS.

    1. Yep, Democrats “really” stole peoples earnings, took away more individual freedom, literally ignored the U.S. Constitution and dropped more communism in a once great nation – like they usually do.

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