About halfway through CNN’s Tuesday evening debate between Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, Sanders tried to pin Cruz down on a fundamental question: Is healthcare a right?
Cruz circled around the question, talking about rights as protections from government overreach. The right to guns came up, naturally, and he got nearly misty eyed talking about the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. What he believed in, Cruz said, was the right to access to healthcare. Sanders pounced. If you can’t afford healthcare, he said, “Access doesn’t mean a damn thing.” It was the most clarifying exchange of the differences between two men at the far poles of U.S. politics.
CNN billed the topic of the debate at the future of the Affordable Care Act, but it wasn’t really that. Sanders was cast in the role of defending the ACA, which he did dutifully but half-heartedly, when he wasn’t pulling the discussion to what he really wanted to talk about: the need for a a “simple,” Medicare-for-all system, which was a major part of his platform as a candidate, and which he asked the audience to “please join me and fight for.”
– In These Times