5 Times Bernie Sanders Mopped the Floor with Ted Cruz During Their CNN Debate
For Never-Trumpers and Berniecrats alike, CNN's Future of Obamacare summit between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the presidential debate they'd been waiting for. As he did throughout the primaries, the Vermont senator made a compelling case not only to preserve the Affordable Care Act from repeal, but for the U.S. to ultimately transition to a single-payer healthcare system.
Here are five of Bernie's most sterling moments from Tuesday night's debate.
1. He began by striking a deal.
"If you're willing to look at taking on pharma, which is the greediest of many, really corporate interests in Washington... I'll tell you what, I'm going to introduce legislation to have Medicaid negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry," Sanders told Cruz. "I am going to introduce again legislation to allow Americans to buy less expensive medicine... Let's take on the greed of pharma."
"I voted with you in support of allowing drug re-importation, it was the right thing to do," Cruz recalled.
The bill was ultimately killed by 13 Democratic senators who voted against it. Cruz went on to explain why getting past the FDA is a bigger hurdle, but Sanders had already found common ground.
2. He pointed out that most Americans actually like Obamacare.
An "overwhelming majority of the American people say, do not simply repeal the ACA. Make improvements," Sanders said.
He's right. According to a Kaiser Health poll released this January, 75 percent of Americans surveyed want the federal government to keep the Affordable Care Act or announce its replacement prior to its repeal.
3. He crushed Republicans' "pro-life" stance.
"Having the baby is fairly expensive," Sanders reminded the audience. "Let's be clear again what Senator Cruz and his Republican friends want to do. They do not want to guarantee that women who become pregnant will be able to get the healthcare... the prenatal care that they need which is a terrible thing, by the way, because we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world."
The U.S. ranks behind more than two-dozen countries in infant mortality. Sanders was referring to the fact that pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition under the Affordable Care Act, but he could have also pointed out that Texas, Cruz's home state, has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.
4. He doubled down on his attack of big pharma.
"What's going on is the pharmaceutical industry owns the United States Congress, and in all fairness I will admit it's not just Republicans; they have a huge influence over the Democratic Party as well," Sanders explained.
"Right now the reality is...you can walk in tomorrow to your pharmacy [and find] the cost... for medicine to be double or triple [what you're used to paying]...so what we have to do we have to tell the pharmaceutical industry... stop ripping off the American people."
5. He destroyed the 'access' to healthcare talking point by revealing why it's meaningless.
After failing to get Cruz to agree that healthcare is a right, Sanders turned to an audience member for help dismantling the Texas senator's stance.
"You have access, but you don't have enough money," he told a small-business owner with whom the two had spoken earlier. "You have access right now, go out and get a really great health insurance program. Oh, you can't do it because you can't afford it. That's what [Cruz] is saying."
"Oh, you want to go out and buy one of Donald Trump's mansions?" he continued. "You have access to that as well. Oh, you can't afford $5 million for a house? Sorry. Access doesn't mean a damn thing!"