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Master debaters from the left and right clash on ACA

For The Miami Student

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 01:11


College Democrats and College Republicans held a debate Wednesday night to discuss the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and the effects it has on the United States.

According to College Democrats secretary Jace Smith, the debate was the first debate between the two college parties since 2008 and party representatives agreed the meeting went very well.

“It has been so long since we have had a debate together,” College Republicans President Katey Papin said. “So it was fun to discuss an important issue while raising awareness to others.”

Five members represented each side at the debate. The Republicans had Katey Papin, Bobby DeJohn, Charlie Meyer, Bethany Nye and Riley Cook. The Democrats had Jace Smith, Greg Baumgartner, Eden Thompson, Keary Jarussi and Matthew Rieger.

Moderated by political science professor Brian Danoff, the debate consisted of opening statements from both sides, four total topics with opportunity for rebuttal, closing statements and audience questions.

After a quick overview of what Obamacare is, Democrat Smith began his opening statement with a personal story representing how the topic of health care has and will affect people for generations.

“What we are debating, everything we say affects real people with real lives,” Smith said.

Republican Papin began her opening statement with examples of how Obamacare is full of false promises and fails to fix the problems the U.S. is facing.

“The law itself is rooted in a far deeper problem that our country is facing: Obamacare represents the crisis of big government,” Papin said.

The first discussion topic was about why health care reform was necessary and what alternative solutions would be beneficial to the healthcare system.

Democrat Thompson began the debate by arguing how inherently unfair the old system was because of its enormous cost and factors such as preexisting condition policies.

“The old health care system accounted for 17.7 percent of the US gross domestic product (GDP), more so than any other country,” Thompson said. “And people were being kicked from their health care plans for reasons such as their age.”

Papin responded by explaining that an alternative solution to fixing the health care system is to give the power to the states, not federal law. She said she thinks with less federal regulations there are more opportunities for competition, which, in turn, will lower premiums.

“The solution lies in creating more choices for the consumer,” Papin said.

The next discussion topic addressed how Obamacare affects specific groups such as age groups and gender.

The Republicans argued that higher health care costs (due to Obamacare) that companies are required to pay lead to the firing of employees or to the cutting of the amount of hours they work. In turn, this could make people ineligible for certain health plans.

The Democratic rebuttal argued that numbers do not support the job killing narrative. Conversely, they said they think that women and elderly people benefit greatly from the new system because more care is now available to them for little or no cost.

The third discussion topic asked the Democrats and Republicans what the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act are.

The Republicans first answered by arguing that Obamacare will add to the national debt, using about $10.8 trillion for deficit spending over the next 10 years, which is the last thing this country needs during a recession.

“Obamacare comes to the table during one of the most vulnerable times in U.S. history,” Republican Bobby DeJohn said. “We had to pass the law to find out what was in it, and we now see that it is not right.”

College Democrats responded by saying, “If you are concerned about the national debt, you should be supporting Obamacare.” They argued that because more people will be buying health insurance, the GDP will increase.

“According to the National Congressional Office, in two years the national debt will be reduced by $1 trillion overall,” Democrat Rieger said.

The final discussion topic asked about both side’s opinion of the current state of the implementation process of the Affordable Care Act.

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