The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Obamacare should be repealed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,361 times Debate No: 24616
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (42)
Votes (5)




Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [1.]. It is a is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The Act is concerned with health care in the United States. A recent Supreme Court decision upheld the Constitutionality of the legislation. [2.].

In is debate I will argue that Obamacare should be repealed, and my opponent will argue that it should remain as law.

This debate is part of the second round of Phantom's 99th Percentile Tournament. [3.]

We selected this topic because it is in the news and will likely remain important in the upcoming presidential election. I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate the topic, and I'm looking forward to a good debate.


This opening round is for definitions and acceptance only. I will give the Pro case at the start of the second round.

Standard debate conventions apply. I list them here for the benefit of new debaters and readers. I believe there is nothing tricky or eccentric. Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation, with anything contrary to the rules to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

DR 1. All arguments must be made in the debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments are to be ignored.

DR 2. Source links or references must be included within the 8000 characters per round limit of the debate. No links or sources are permitted in comments.

DR 3 Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate. The definitions given in the challenge stand as a condition of acceptance.

DR 4. No new arguments shall be made in Round 4. Arguments and evidence may be presented in R4 in rebuttal to any previous argument, but no new arguments are allowed.

DR 5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted.

DR 6. Dropped arguments are not immediately counted as concessions. They may be taken up again or left to be judged as part of the case.


I accept and look forward to a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Obamacare should be repealed because:

1. Entitlements should only be passed by consensus

When the Democratic leadership was pushing health care legislation through Congress they effectively prohibited Republican participation in hearings, with one exception. Despite leadership objections, Sen. Baucus allowed hearings in his committee with Republican participation. Not many of the Republican modifications were adopted, but over the many weeks of debate some changes were accepted by the Democrats. All of the work of the committee was discarded in favor of a new bill introduced by Sen. Reid and adopted by the slimmest of partisan majorities under the gimmick of reconciliation. It was 2700 pages that no one had an opportunity to read, let alone study.

Nancy Pelosi make here famous remark that Congress "[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of controversy." [3.] After 18 months, no one is sure what it is in it. The language of the bill is beyond parsing.

Sen. Thomas Carper, a Democrat who voted for the legislation and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told CNN, “I don't expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I've ever read in my life. … ” He characterized it as “incomprehensible” and “gibberish.” [4.].

The legislation ultimate was adopted without a single Republican supporter, and with 34 Democrats joining House Republicans to vote against it. Previous entitlement legislation, including President Bush's expansion of Medicare, were done with full hearings and bipartisan support. “For decades, a rule of thumb in Washington has said that there should be popular support and a bipartisan majority before approving an initiative that significantly affects tens of millions of Americans. Health-care reform—ObamaCare—has neither, yet Democrats want to impose it anyway.” [5.]

Obamacare should be repealed because legislation that affects 20% of the U.S. economy and most of the population should be fully vetted in hearings, achieve bipartisan agreement, and be readily comprehensible.

2. Obamacare is not affordable

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the cost of legislation according to mandated narrow assumptions. Obamacare is now scored as costing $1.76 trillion over the next decade. [6.] The scoring rules allow vastly underestimating the cost.

Obamacare contains 21 new tax provisions to help pay the costs. [7.] For example, a 40% tax is levied on health insurance plans costing over $10,000. The assumption is that no one will exit such plans as a result of the outrageous tax. If Congress put a $1000 tax on carrots, the CBO computed revenue would be the present number of carrots consumed times a thousand dollars. What happens in reality is that the taxes never materialize.

Other tax increases are on medical devices (like MRI machines), charitable hospitals, non-profit medical insurance companies, health savings accounts, and flexible spending accounts. All the taxes on health care obtain revenue by driving up health care costs. There are new taxes on business and investment, and new payroll taxes. Those taxes will slow economic growth, lowering income tax revenues.

Before Obamacare, the tax code had 4 million words. It cost taxpayers about $500 billion each year to hire accountants, buy software, and keep records to comply with the tax code. The Administration recently announced the additions to the tax code for Obamacare, an additional 2 million words .. so far. [8.] The additions include extremely complex rules for businesses. We can expect compliance costs to soar. If adding 50% to the amount of rules increases costs by only 20%, the total would be $1 trillion over ten years.

Obamacare is phased in so that the cost for the first decade, the period the CBO scores explicitly, are reduced. Taxes under Obamacare start four years before the benefits.

The CBO analysis assumes that very few companies will choose to pay the penalty of $2000 per employee to end their health-care benefits. But with health care costs over $11,000 for a family plan, the assumption is surely wrong. “And if NCPA's upper-range estimate is right and 117 million people were dumped into the exchange, ObamaCare would cost nearly $2 trillion more than expected in the first decade alone.” [9.]

Obamacare takes about $500 billion away from Medicare to help pay for the new programs. It's unlikely in the extreme that cutting Medicare will be politically viable. Medicare is already underfunded to the point where half of doctors will not accept new Medicare patients. When the cuts start to show, Congress will restore the funds.

Obamacare does not increase the supply of health care. It only increases the demand. The costs will therefore skyrocket.

We now have the examples of European countries drowning in entitlement spending. Everyone would like to have free health care, but it isn't free and the economy cannot withstand the burden of additional deficits. Simple reforms like making the loser pay for lawsuits and by permitting interstate competition in health care would lower costs without subsidies. We should start with those measures.

3. Obamacare is an unacceptable loss of freedom

Suppose you are young and in good health and would like to just buy catastrophic health insurance. Too bad, it's illegal. Suppose you don't want health insurance at all, a perfectly reasonable proposition for a wealthy individual who hates bureaucratic paperwork. That's not allowed. Maybe you are just an ornery risk-taker who doesn't want insurance. That's not allowed.

You don't expect the Government to just pay any health care bill presented, do you? Obamacare sets up about 150 new agencies, panels, and boards to direct the details of health care. President Obama explained in a Town Hall meeting,

The question for the President was: Under Obamacare, will an elderly person’s general state of health, and her “spirit,” be taken into account when making medical decisions – or will these decisions be made according to age only?

President Obama’s answer was clear. It is really not feasible, he indicated, to take “spirit” into account. We are going to make medical decisions based on objective evidence, and not subjective impressions. If the evidence shows that some form of treatment “is not necessarily going to improve care, then at least we can let the doctors know that – you know what? – maybe this isn’t going to help; maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the pain pill.”


The freedom lost is the consumer's ability to choose a health care provider whose judgment they trust above that of the bureaucracy. Not only do patients object, but physicians do not accept the loss of their ability to treat a patient as they believe best. "An astonishing 46 percent of responding primary care physicians claim they would leave or try to leave medicine as a result of ObamaCare, gravely exacerbating the existing shortage of primary care doctors (according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the number of U.S. medical school students choosing primary care has already dropped 52 percent since 1997)." [11.]

Obamacare should be repealed because it usurps the rights of patients and physicians to make their own critical decisions.



Thanks for your arguments.


R1: Passage

This bill is only 68 words longer than the Republican transportation bill in 2005 [1.] Then, you have to factor in that health care is the size of 1/6th of our total economy. It is obvious why it is very long then — it is comprehensive health care reform.

Furthermore, the PPACA passed the Senate with 60 votes, more than the constitutionally needed 51. The PPACA passed both branches of Congress with more than the majority. [2.] The compromise bill that was ultimately signed by President Obama (PPACA) was created by Democrats, so that they could avoid any more filibusters or delays that the GOP were setting up repeatedly, and since the Democrats did not have 60 votes by this time, as Sen. Brown of Massachusetts recently came, without an alternate compromise bill, the legislation would have trouble passing with the Republican roadblocks being set up [3.]

Also, Pelosi actually said, "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy." She said this, because at this time, numerous rumors were being spread about it. Pelosi simply said that once the bill is passed, everyone can see what is in it and not (like some proposed amendment you heard on the radio or the news).

Obamacare has components from both sides of the debate. For progressives, it does include a Medicaid expansion, as well as other patient protections. For conservatives, it has the individual mandate to end the problem of free riders, ensure more coverage, and make consumers more accountable. Also, the state insurance exchanges, as well as the tax credits for businesses are all conservative supported ideas. So you arrive at a more bipartisan piece of legislation.

In conclusion, this bill was passed, even through the roadblocks the GOP set up to destroy it, as they wanted to deny Obama and political accomplishments (Senator McConnel made this clear) and it passed with majorities in both the Senate and the House, and the length itself is extensive but reasonable for dealing with such a large reform proposal.

R2: Affordable Health Care

First, the $1.7 trillion are initial costs to get the whole iniative moving into action. After this, however, it has a negative impact on the deficit. See the attached picture that describes this point.

Those who cannot afford insurance are given federal subsidies and/or tax credits to purchase health insurance, with the subsidies provided on a sliding scale.

This act is funded by a broad tax base, for example, the surcharge on high income peoples is a hike of less than 1%. Furthermore, this bill strengthens Medicare by making it more efficient, reducing future outlays. So, by strenghtening Medicare, as well as the health care system, it is a good act.

Empirical evidence from the Dep. of Health and Human Services has found that Obamacare cuts the costs of health care insurance by $2,300 for a middle class family. And for a low-income family of 4, they could save $14,900 a year by using tax credits and federal subsidies. These benefits arise from market forces in state insurance exchanges. [4.] By 2019, the average family would have an additional $2,000 in savings exclusively due to Obamacare. So, families will save about 14-20% in health care costs.

Also, you mentioned that many businesses would rather pay a $2000 fine per employee instead of providing health insurance. Your point itself is however absurd. In the past, an employer could provide insurance at high prices. Now, if they do, they get tax credits as well as the exchanges available to lower their total costs. So, employers benefit. Or, if they never provided insurance, they face a fine. So, there was even more an incentive in the past to drop insurance. So this argument is refuted.

Furthermore, through the usage of preventive care as well as added efficiency, Medicare is strenghtened and future costs are reduced. Your point is thus refuted. [5.] This law also ends the "donut hole" and provides rebates to Medicare recepients.

This act reduces total deficits, and reduces the number of uninsured Americans. It takes bipartisan ideas such as Medicaid expansion, a sliding scale of federal subsidies and tax credits, insurance exchanges, and the individual mandate to reform health care.

R3: Obamacare: Insurance Access

The individual mandate is necessary to get rid of the problems of free riders as well as to take care of people with pre-existing conditions. For example, let's say Bob wants insurance. But he had cancer when he was 2 years old. He is denied insurance, but needs it more than others. With the individual mandate, he gets his insurance. However, since he cannot be denied insurance, others would refuse to get insurance until they get sick. This is unfair to the insurance company, they would go bankrupt. So, people are mandated to buy insurance. And if they cannot afford it, they are given federal subsidies on a sliding scale to purchase insurance at a state insurance exchange.

Death panels? This is ridiculus. The Independent Payment Advisory Board ranks treatments to help doctors prescribe treatments and procedures. Obama had said if no treatment would of helped a patient, and nothing would come out of treatment, a pain pill would help instead. So basically, Obamacare sets up a center for analyzing the efficacy of procedures and treatments. And, thus Obamacare strengthens the system's efficiency.

The amount of doctors you said would leave due to Obamacare is laughable. If they said they would, they should of left a while back, as this law is already taking effect, steps at a time.

And, your source, not the one from Karl Rove, but the one from the AMA, they artificially limit the number of doctors in America, much more than "supposed doctors leaving the profession."

Currently 85% of emergency room patients do not have a life-threatening condition. [6
.] This causes an atmosphere of death and despair in emergency rooms. Obamacare does indeed raise the demand, from an original 259 million patients to (will be) 289 million patients. [7.] This is only an increase of very slightly over 10%. Thus, the average wait time should increase only by 10%. However, the emergency room situation will become more humane due to this act.

-----My Arguments-----

Obamacare, as I have proven, decreases insurance costs. For the average family, insurance costs will decrease by about $2,000, or about 20%.

Obamacare creates community rating standards to increase the risk pool and thus lowering the overall liabilities, and equaling lower costs.

Obamacare strengthens Medicare.

Young people up to 26 can remain on their parent's plan.

Obamacare mandates that people purchase insurance, to ensure a healthier nation, greater productivity, eliminate free riders, and end discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

There is a sliding scale with federal subsidies and tax credits to help both citizens and businesses purchase health insurance.

Obamacare sets up numerous acts to bring transparency and cost-cutting actions to the health insurance industry.

Obamacare reduces costs by reducing ER visits, and by fairly making insurance companies spend money on actual care, not on lavish CEO pay hikes.

Obamacare creates numerous protections for patients.

Obamacare sets up state exchanges so market forces can reduce the costs of insurance plans.

Thus, Obamacare builds upon bipartisan components, and uses them to fairly expand coverage to Americans, while protecting patients, reducing costs, bringing transparency and accountability to the insurance companies, and reducing the deficit.

So, I await Pro's arguments.

Debate Round No. 2


1. Entitlements should only be passed by consensus

Con argues that Obamacare passed both houses of Congress by more than a majority. Of course it did. My point, however, was that for the first time in history there was negligible bipartisan participation in enacting a major entitlement. that's bad governance.

Con argues that ramming it through without debate was necessary, because otherwise Republicans might have delayed or blocked it. Yes, and that's the argument against all absolute rule: it tramples on the minority. The legislation makes a major change in American society, bringing nearly 20% of the economy under Federal control. That's too big a step to have it rammed through without vetting and compromise.

Con argues that the individual mandate was put in the bill at the insistence of Republicans. That is not the case, “On March 23, 2010, the day that President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, fourteen [Republican] state attorneys general filed suit against the law’s requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance, on the ground that it was unconstitutional.” [12. ] Conservatives had once viewed the individual mandate favorably, but by the time Obamacare was proposed the evidence had turned conservatives against it.

The free rider argument is plausible, but what happens in practice is that young earners whose need for medical care is minimal are taxed to benefit older people. That's unfair. Worse, government invariable uses the mandate as an excuse to write detailed rules for exactly how health care is carried out.

Republicans offered alternative legislation to Obamacare at the time. [13. ] It featured tort reform, interstate competition for insurance, and individual deductibility of insurance premiums. There was no mystery whatsoever as to what Republicans wanted. The Democrats offered no compromise on any of what the Republicans wanted. For example, the Democrats might have offered a high cap on lawsuit settlements or losers paying a fraction of court costs. They made no attempt at compromise that might have garnered some bipartisan support.

My argument is that major changes in society need not just a majority, but significant consensus. That did not happen, so Obamacare should be repealed. Health care can then be considered incrementally, as it should have been.

Con argues that Republicans passed a lengthy Transportation Bill, so Obamacare should not be criticized for it's length. Perhaps Republicans screwed up, or maybe it was a long list of drainage ditches and bridge repairs. The problem with the PPACA is that it combines length with incomprehensibility. I small fraction of the bill was expanded to 13,000 pages of a additions to the tax code, and we have yet to see the work of the 150 agencies and boards that will tell us what is allowed in health care.

2. Obamacare is not affordable

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the cost of legislation according to mandated narrow assumptions. Originally, CBO scored Obamacare as costing $925 billion. My opponent presented a graph from that appraisal [14. ] Since then CBO has revised their estimate for the cost upwards, to $1.76 trillion. [6]. More importantly, as I argued in R2, the CBO scoring approach omits a likely four or five trillion in costs. It doesn't include the cost of reducing Medicare ($500 billion), tax compliance costs ($2 trillion), revenue shortfall by tax avoidance, costs from undersubscription ($2 trillion), or costs passed to the states to increase Medicaid.

As it stands, the CBO only considers the impact on the Federal deficits. Aside from the individual mandate, there are 21 new taxes in the bill. Increasing taxes helps minimize the deficit, but it's still part of the cost. The cost is born by the people who pay taxes. The bulk of the new taxes are on health care, which is not going to reduce health care costs.

My opponent claims that “empirical evidence” from the Administration “found that Obamacare cuts the costs of health care insurance by $2,300 for a middle class family.” Empirical means observed. The claims of reductions are for 2014, so clearly they have not been observed. They are wildly optimistic projections. The 2010 study made projections for 2011, so we can see how it's going. The bottom of page 3 of the report [Con's 4] says, “It [Obamacare] includes several provisions that tackle health care costs immediately, including: ...” and it list six provisions of the legislation that took effect in 2010 claimed to immediately reduce insurance costs. In fact, “Health insurance premiums shot up 9 percent in 2011, nearly three times the rate of inflation...” [15. ]

The Administration could not appraise the effects of the legislation even one year out. 2010 estimates for 2014 lack any credibility.

Con addressed the funding of Medicare by pointing to a blog that says that Medicare benefits are not cut. Magically, the benefits are not cut while funding for Medicare is cut by $545 billion. The theory is that efficiencies derived from the government micromanaging health care will enable benefits to be maintain despite the cuts. That's not plausible. What will actually happen is that when panels start to ration care, Medicare recipients will protest and Congress will restore the funding.

Con argues, without support, that employers will not choose to turn employees over to the government health exchanges rather than providing insurance as a benefit in the numbers cited. Two independent estimates contradict Con's claim, both putting the number at around 100 million employees who will be shunted into the exchanges. “Simple economics is the reason.”

Con points to the employer tax credit for employers paying for health insurance. The maximum tax credit is 50% of the employer contribution, but there are many limitations that make it worth much less.


We have the results. “..despite original estimates that 4 million small businesses would be eligible for and benefit from Obamacare’s small business tax credit, only 28,100 employers claimed the full credit amount. The Government Accountability Office even concluded that the credit was not big enough to incentivize employers to offer coverage and was too complex and time-consuming to file for. .., The tax credit eventually phases out in 2016” [18. ]

3. Obamacare is an unacceptable loss of freedom

My opponent had nothing to say about the loss of freedom to select insurance products and to participate in health care decisions.

R3: Access

Coverage for pre-existing conditions ought to be considered anew, separate from the baggage of Obamacare. California requires that once you have any insurance, you can change providers or keep the insurer without penalty. That's a reasonable compromises that makes insurance companies to compete.

Con says “Death panels? This is ridiculus.[sic]” I never mentioned death panels.

Obama clearly stated that the individual physicians appraisal of what constitutes appropriate care will not count.
The 100 year old lady got her pacemaker and lived on in comfort, another five years when last checked. Not under Obamacare.

Medicare already provides proof of doctor's refusing to work under the government terms and conditions. Medicare has produced substantial shortages of geriatricians. [19.] Obamacare is just beginning. The latest poll is that 83% of physicians have thought about quitting over the health care takeover. [20.]

Proponents of nationalized care have not come to grips with the basics of supply and demand. All evidence is that supply will decrease. Prices inevitably will rise, and at the same time care, including preventive care, will decrease.

The resolution is affirmed. Repeal Obamacare.




R1: Passage of PPACA

Pro argues that it was not fair and ethical that the legislation passed both majorities, and says that there was no major bipartisanship in order to get this legislation through. This is not revealing the whole picture though.

First, since Obama took office, the Republicans have moved very far to the right. This is evident by the creation of a hardcore right-wing faction known as the Tea Party, and more importantly the fact that the Republicans are the most conservative in 100 years. [1] This is empirical evidence. Democrats have been far less radical. Further, the Republicans have invoked massive use of the filibusters to prevent legislation from passing. [2] And, the GOP has at all costs trying to prevent Obama from achieving major success.

Lastly, the Republicans have been strongly opposed to Obamacare because they want to deny Obama success. Pro says they do have a plan. Point 1 is allowing individuals to purchase insurance over state lines. I agree with this. Point 2 is medical malpractice reform, which will save an astounding 1% of health care costs. [3] Point 3 gives people with health insurance a tax break.

However, the key points here are that while the GOP plan would reduce costs with greater competition, it utterly fails to expand health insurance access to 30 million more individuals like Obamacare does. It also doesn't include a Medicare expansion or protections for consumers, which are progressive ideas. Ultimately, it fails to achieve the same expansion in health coverage, doesn't lower costs by $2,000 per family like Obamacare [4], and doesn't have a mechanism to reduce future costs.

Pro says that conservatives now oppose the individual mandate. I will accept that. And Pro also said that Obamacare adds 13,000 pages to the tax code, which already has 134,000 pages. That is massive, but this law, by requiring insurance companies to state their reason for premium hikes, requiring 80% of spending to go towards health care, and other measures brings transparency to the health insurance industry.

Pro asserts that this act basically let's gov't detail how health care is used, and the community rating taxes the young to give to the old. To first clear the fallacy on health care, Obamacare does not put gov't in charge. An independent advisory does rank treatments and procedures to make the system more efficient and result in, "significant reduction[s] in health care costs," [6]. This is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Furthermore, the community rating puts the price of health insurance the same for the whole "community", and thus spreads out the risk over a large pool of people and lowering costs. [5]

There is a consensus actually on Obamacare. Many parts of it, including protections for patients who are sick, gov't should lower health care costs, gov't should help citizens obtain health care, everyone should have access to care, and insurance companies should spend more on health care than administrative costs are all ideas that have strong majority support among the U.S. population. [7] So, as I said earlier, it is the GOP who were trying to block health care reform for Obama's gain.

In conclusion here, Obamacare has high ratings among the U.S. population on many components of this law. This law was held hostage by the GOP, who have explicitly said they want Obama to be defeated. I ask why would they wish to help the President achieve a major policy victory?

R2: More Affordable Health Care

The CBO never adjusted Obamacare's price as doubling. The original estimate was the PPACA would cost $938 billion over 10 years (2010-2019). The new study that you refer to has an 11 year estimate from 2011-2022 at a cost of $1.76 trillion. The original report also said from 2012-2021 the gross cost would be $1.445 trillion. The new projection adds on 2022, in which this year will have a cost of $265 billion. Add that to the 2010 projection, and you get the $1.76 trillion. [11] So, Pro has manipulated the actual numbers.

Furthermore, the "2 million additional words" to the tax code that you have implied — is nonsense. Your source provided zero evidence of this. Pro also asserted that there would be $2 trillion in tax compliance costs, and another $2 trillion in under subscription. These are both random numbers, from which no evidence has been shown. The states that do decide to expand Medicaid are given significant help from the fed gov't to pay for new costs, the fed gov't pays for the new subsidies.

The new taxes under Obamacare have a broad base, and thus are small taxes. For example, the main points of funding include a broadened Medicare tax base for high-income taxpayers, a small excise tax on medical devices, and other small taxes. The CBO has analyzed savings for individuals, and on average the savings for individuals is about 14-20%. This is after taxes are factored in.

The Medicare savings are real. And Congress has a good record of sticking to cuts once they make them. [8] The cuts in Medicare are made real by increasing the efficiency of treatments, limiting overpayments to private insurers, and using preventive care.

And, the increase in insurance premiums wasn't really due to Obamacare, which only accounted for 2% of the total increase. [9] And, the nonpartisan CBO still has concluded that after the PPACA is fully implemented, it will lower employer premiums by 1) making the insurance market more rational and transparent, and 2) Reducing the "hidden tax" we all pay for the uninsured in emergency rooms. [10]

The CBO reports are updated. Like the one on the total costs of the PPACA, which I mentioned, was updated, and it found that the PPACA would save $50 billion more than thought. [11]

First, the savings from Obamacare are real. The CBO, which is a very good source, has not changed its projections. Further, Pro thinks that the study will be outdated in two years, but is perfectly fine with assuming a private study will be accurate in two years.

Further, the CBO has concluded that a net change of 5 million losing their employer coverage by 2019. [12] Or, a net increase by 3 million people by the same time.

The conclusion is that Obamacare does reduce costs. It reduces costs by about 7-20% for the average individual, and does this by using market forces, increasing the insurance pool, increasing insurance transparency, and increasing the efficiency of medical treatments.

R3: Freedom

People will eventually need health care. It is not something you can really refuse. You can't really refuse to get a triple bypass. Since health insurance is thus essential, and is not a regular market product, we must expand coverage so that we don't end up paying for the uninsured in the form of hospital costs passed to the insured. We already do this as a hidden tax, costing us about $132 per capita annually. [13]

About the 83% of physicians who thought about quitting, this is inaccurate. Only 4% of doctors actually responded to the poll, and the author of the poll has participated actively in Tea Party anti-Obamacare protests. [14]

So, Obamacare increases the insurance pool by a large amount, reducing risk and therefore costs, by the amount of 7-20% per individual in an insurance exchange. Consumers get more transparency and rationality from the insurance companies. The deficit is reduced. Medicare is made more efficient. And 30 million more Americans get care.

[3] Conrad, Jessamyn. What You Should Know About Politics... But Don't. 2008. 116.
Debate Round No. 3


1. Entitlements should only be passed by consensus

I did not argue that it was unfair for Obamacare to have been passed. I argued that it was unwise to have passed legislation that was not properly vetted through committee hearings, that came out of the vapors, and is incomprehensible. I do not see Con having disputed any of those three points.

I agree the Parties are highly polarized. The study that Con cites correctly shows that Republicans are further right than in a long time. The study also shows that Democrats are further left than since they won with Woodrow Wilson's promise to keep us out of war. As government moves towards regulating everything economic, there is a reaction. How does that justify a lack of vetting and justify incomprehensible legislation? Rather the opposite. If $545 billion is going to be cut from Medicare through “efficiency” everyone should know exactly how, so they can evaluate the plan. What are each of the 150 new government bodies regulating health care going to do?

No one knows even now, and Obamacare should be repealed so that a step-by-step approach can be properly debated and put in place. Republicans concede some of the ideas in Obamacare, but the whole package is an unresolvable mess.

Con argues that the Republicans are only against Obamacare because they want President Obama to fail. The debate is on the merits of the legislation, not the motivations of supporters of either side. For the record, the accusation is false. Republicans supported the President's intervention in Libya, supported the President's expanded use of drone strikes, and sided with the President on many national security issues. It is issue by issue. Con argued correctly that Republicans are solidly right wing these days; that means they don't need a political reason to oppose Obamacare. It's fundamental.

The CBO says tort reform will save $54 billion. The point is that it doesn't cost taxpayers anything to accomplish, so if Democrats wanted some bipartisan support they could have thrown that bone to Republicans. Con agrees that interstate competition in health care should also have been given as a concession to Republicans as well. Obamacare was a failure of the legislative process, and should be repealed.

2. Obamacare is not affordable

The United States now has free universal health care supplied through an emergency medical system. The US has a unique emergency system because of high rates of heart attacks, strokes, accidents, drug overdoses, and violence. Obamacare does nothing to reduce any of those emergencies, and Con says 85% of the patients are true emergencies. If you have a Cadillac plan or no insurance, you go to the same emergency room and receive exactly the same care as an uninsured person. This system can surely be improved, but any improvement depends upon increasing the amount of health care, mainly by increasing the number of health care professionals. Government runs the Medicare system, with the result that half of physicians won't take new Medicare patients and physicians are not entering geriatrics.

We can debate the number who will leave medicine rather than fight the bureaucracy to deliver care, but overall Obamacare is not going to increase the number, it is going to decrease it. Con argues that the latest survey only covers a small percentage of physicians. The small percentage does not mean inaccuracy; voter surveys are reasonably accurate despite being a negligible percentage of voters and only covering the people who choose to respond. We don't know exactly how many physicians will follow through and retire, but the point is that the number of physicians will go down, so therwill be less care.

My opponent argues that Obamacare will only cost $1.76 trillion over the next decade, just as the CBO says. If that's true, does that mean the Obamacare is affordable? Is it really just a rounding error in our spending? For comparison the total amount of student loan debt outstanding is $833 billion. The CBO estimate of Pentagon costs for the Iraq war is $1.9 trillion. Where did Con argue that we have another $1.76 trillion to spare? We have seen the economic downfall of Europe from wild overspending on entitlement programs. Even if Obamacare were a wonderful thing, which it is not, we cannot afford it.

CBO assumes that $545 billion can be taken out of Medicare. Con argues that new efficiencies, previously undiscovered by the bureaucrats who have been running Medicare for decades, will emerge to make this possible without cutting any benefits. I relied upon President Obama's explanation of how this will be accomplished. The judgment of the personal physician attending a patient will be overruled in favor of formulas supplied by a remote panel. In the case the President considered, a 100-year old woman was judged by her physician to merit receiving a pacemaker based upon her good health and “spirit.” It happened and provided at least five years of comfortable living to the lady. President Obama said that efficiency had no room for individual judgments of that sort, so Obamacare would take precedence.

My opponent did not address the President's explanation, but cited undefined new efficiencies as if magic will occur. In fact, there is little chance that Medicare recipients will tolerate the efficiencies brought by remote medical decisions. Congress will restore the cuts after the outcry.

I pointed out that the CBO does not figure compliance costs. My opponent only argued that I did not accurately figure the cost. My basis for figuring was that the cost of parsing regulations is probably reasonably proportion to the amount of regulations. I admit to confusion over the correspondence of words to pages. (e.g. The PPACA was 2700 pages when first made available, 900 pages after typesetting, etc.). Anyway,We have almost four million words in the US tax code. Obamacare added two million more.” If it were completely proportional, the yearly $500 billion cost of complying with the present code would rise by $250 billion yearly. I more conservatively estimated $2 trillion per decade. It could be less, but keep in mind the Feds are nowhere near done writing. For this debate, all that matters is that there are very large unaccounted costs to the public.

Con does not argue the logic of companies dropping employee coverage in much larger numbers than CBO anticipated, nor does he argue the fact that only 28,000 of four million employers found it worthwhile to try to satisfy the bureaucracy for a tax credit. My estimate of $2 trillion in additional costs is reasonable.

The basic fact of supply and demand remains. Demand is increased and supply is decreased, therefore prices will rise. The only way to reduce the total cost is to ration services, as President Obama described, calling it efficiency.

3. Obamacare is an unacceptable loss of freedom

Con argues that because everyone needs medical care, the principles of free markets do not apply, and therefore we should not worry about loss of freedom. Everyone needs food. Does it follow that we should not worry if government determines what food we eat? Everyone needs clothing. So maybe efficiencies should be obtained from government-mandated Chairman Mao suits?

No, consumers have real economic choices in how much insurance they should have, what aches and pains deserve what amount and what type of treatment, and how much diet and exercise they do to improve their health. Physicians place enormous value on patient interaction to determine appropriate treatment.
The loss is intolerable.


I invite readers to track my opponents dropped arguments.

I appreciate my opponents diligence in this debate. I think we have given a good airing to the issues within the limited space afforded.

The resolution is affirmed.



R1: Proper Passage

The bill was passed with open hearings. The Committee that wrote the PPACA composed of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Together, they had open discussions over 60 hours long, and were publicly broadcasted on CSPAN. Eventually, the committee formed the eventual Senate bill. The Senate passed this legislation, and the House passed a different bill. So, Obama created a Senate-like health reform bill, and the House later passed it. [1]

The provisions in the bill, as I have earlier said and have been left unrefuted, are largely popular with the American public. The ideas like everyone should have access to care, insurance companies should spend more on health care than administrative costs, the risk pool should be expanded to lower risk and therefore costs, and people with preexisting conditions should have coverage all have strong support among the U.S. population.

This bill has bipartisan ideas from both sides of Congress. It has a Medicaid expansion, protections for consumers, and a strengthening of Medicare. For Conservatives, it has state exchanges, greater competition for insurance plans, an individual mandate (some Cons like this part — like Newt Gingrich), and for both sides it expands the risk pool.

In conclusion, this bill has bipartisan elements from both sides of the aisle, and enough from both sides to ensure realistic passage. The committee bill was processed via transparency and open hearings, visible fully on CSPAN. The Constituional guidelines in place were followed, and as well as being passed in Congress, the American public support the provisions in the bill.

R2: Enhances Medicare Efficiency

Pro has brought up this point numerous times, so I will resolve it for good. The PPACA strengthens Medicare. It increases its tax base primarily on high income taxpayers, as well as using preventive care, and making payments to insurance providers more efficient and reducing fraud. So, Medicare spending is reduced by $500 billion, by using more efficiency and preventive care. The CBO has upheld the idea that this bill has strengthened Medicare's financial position. [2]

So, Obamacare enhances Medicare efficiency and bolsters its solvency.

R3: More Affordable Health Care

Pro claims that the USA has a universal access system. This is absurd. First, the tens of millions of uninsured Americans, (which was reduced by 30 million because of Obamacare) suffer substantially worse health outcomes than the uninsured. [3]

Then, Pro horribly rewords my statements.

"Obamacare does nothing to reduce any of those emergencies, and Con says 85% of the patients are true emergencies."

I supported with empirical evidence earlier that 85% of emergency room visits ARE NOT emergencies, and many of those people come because they are uninsured. Obamacare, because it reduces the uninsured by 30 million [5], it reduces the amount of uninsured emergency room visits by at least 26%. [6]

Pro also states,"half of physicians won't take new Medicare patients."

Factual evidence shows that in fact, only 10% of Medicare patients said their PCP wouldn't take their insurance, while those with private insurance showed that 17-24% of patients said that their PCP wouldn't take their insurance. Medicare has better access to care.

Pro says that many doctors will quit because of Obamacare. This is similar to the studies done right after Medicare was initially passed. Many physicians were considering to quit because of the new health insurance program. However, after they realized the benefits, they realized they had nothing to fear. [7] So, many doctors may think about quitting, but like under Medicare, they will likely universally realize that the PPACA is good for all, some of the benefits identical to the ones I have described in this debate.

Pro then says we cannot afford Obamacare. Still, the evidence says otherwise. The CBO says that Obamacare reduces the deficit by $210 billion between 2011-2021. [7] So, if you repeal Obamacare, you vote to increase our debt, vote to increase health care costs, and all the other negative externalities that I will summarize soon.

The Independent Advisory Payment Board, which will help reduce Medicare spending by tens of billions [9], does not make certain procedures complusory to what they find. They simply rank the efficacy of certain treatments and procedures, send the results to PCPs, and let doctors practice with greater success and effect. The example that Pro brings up has been twisted. Obama simply says that if no treatment would work that well for the person, and the doctor thinks that the person has good "spirit", they could just take a pain pill instead. If the patient agrees, of course.

Basically, the Independent Board ranks treatments so that doctors can practice with more effect. The information provided is not compulsory, as the Medicare cuts are made to providers such as insurance providers. In fact, the Republican plan also expands onto these Medicare cuts. [2]

About the tax code, I am greatful of Pro's explanation. However, the words in the PPACA does not accurately configure with the tax code. This bill legislates many things, some of it does direct to taxes, and how much people can receive in federal subsidies for health care, but many of the words also construct how to make Medicare more efficient, the guidelines for the state exchanges, the new regulations to protect consumers from the insurance companies, all these provisions and more do not effect tax compliance costs.

And the CBO did re-adjust their initial costs, they estimated that the new taxes would increase costs by $8 billion. [7]

I said that employer sponsored health insurance will only modestly change, because how it relates to the previous situation. In the past, an employer could choose to sponsor health insurance, or not.

Now with the PPACA, an employer can sponsor health insurance, and be aided with various tax credits to gain from providing insurance as well as healthier workers, or they can give no insurance and pay penalties.

--So, as you can see, Obamacare provides no new incentives to drop insurance. It only incentivizes it. This is why in Massachusetts employer sponsored health insurance increased. [10] Obamacare is not fully implemented, the mass of the bill takes effect in 2014.

R3: Freedom

Basically, the insurance mandate eliminates the problem of free riders. It is like car insurance, which people are required to have, so that all car drivers are safer. Except, this case makes it so that our citizens are healthier, so if they land in the E.R., we have less of a collective burden.

The PPACA reduces costs, improving economic freedom for many individuals. It helps doctors provide more effective treatments. The Constitutional law will help people get health care, and make it more affordable and secure.


Obamacare has many benefits:

Reduces the Deficit, by $210 billion over 10 years [7]

Health Care is more Affordable, saves about 7-20% for the average person [11]

Builds upon bipartisan ideas [1]

Reduces health care inflation [7]

Increases Efficacy of Health Treatments [9]

Improves insurance industry's accountability [5]

Protects Patients from industry abuse [5]

Passed via Constitutional path with transparent visibility [1]

Enhances and Strengthens Medicare's Efficiency and Solvency [7]

Reduces the uninsured by 30+ million [5]

Expands the risk pool, thus lowering risk and lowering costs. [5]


The resolution is negated.

[2] Kessler, Glenn. "Time For A Checkup." Grand Rapids Press 15 7 2012, n. pag. Print.

Debate Round No. 4
42 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
@d.k, I think the way enforcement is to be carried out is that the Board will decide what treatments for what ailments will covered by insurance, and which will not. Theoretically, you can get any treatment you want -- but if you don't want what Big Brother wants you to have, you have to pay for it yourself. That's just my understanding, perhaps it will turn out some other way. The Left loves Obamacare precisely because it puts control in the hands of bureaucrats. The trend in neo-socialism is not to ban things outright, but to heavily penalized "wrong" choices. You can smoke, but there is huge tax, etc.
Posted by simpleman 4 years ago
The more that citizens compromise for the entitlement programs the government devises, the greater also the need for tax revenue will increase, as that is the funding for any federal government program at all. At the staggering addition of over 6 trillion dollars to an already debilitating deficit, the effwct upon the citizens, especially in consideration of the weak job growth we have seen, is logically unsound, and ill advised. There's no free lunch. Someone has to pay.
Posted by donald.keller 4 years ago
Roy... You forgot Bodily Autonomy. It's considered one of the most important rights in the world... It's why you can refuse any treatment the doctor proposes... Basically, the doctor can't decide for your body... Only you can. He can advise you, but unless you give the say-so, he can't perform any treatments.

If the government has agencies deciding your treatment, then you have lost a great deal of Bodily Autonomy. You can't decide for your own body, it's their decision now. As history follows, it wouldn't take long for the remainder for Bodily freedom to come under attacked.

I'm not sure how much power those boards would have. Would you say someone who constantly speaks out against the government (like a whistle-blower) should be very scared to have to visit the hospital? I want to know how Big-Brother like such a board would be before assuming something radical like that.
Posted by phantom 6 years ago
Roys through since the debate's been done for more than a week. Any latter votes that might occur are irrelevant to the tourney.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
I don't get the "Republican inspired" thing. From the civil War through the 960, Democats favored segregation and all manner of racist legislation. So should we now fairly refer to all manner of racist legislation as "Democrat inspired"? Is there a logical principle by which it's impossible to change opinions.

The reason that Republicans changed on healthcare is recognizing that when the Federal government pays for anything, they cannot resist deciding exactly what they will and will not pay for. Obamacare sets up about 150 new boards and agencies with what amounts to legislative authority to make rules. It's not remotely plausible that thy will just dispense occasional advice. The amount of health care will decrease, so the government apparatus will be consumed with rationing it. It took Republicans a while to understand the inevitability of this.
Posted by Contra 6 years ago
[Obama] most notably, he has reformed our healthcare system by signing a Republican-inspired healthcare plan into law. In most other points in our party's history, Obama would fit in well as a Republican.

It's funny to hear the Republicans say it.

Microsuck, it is not socialized medicine. It is socialized insurance. Not that I would present it that way, I reframe it to make it sound better. What sounds better, socialized insurance or Universal Medicare? Words mean a lot in politics.
Posted by Microsuck 6 years ago
Ah I see. I'm against all forms of socialized medicine. Why should you oay for my healthcare? Also, I,m against all forma of sociaisn
Posted by Contra 6 years ago

I thought that Single payer would be a far superior idea to have. I still do think this view, but I think that the PPACA is better than nothing, and single payer can evolve on the state level instead until (or if) we ever get it nationally. Vermont has Single Payer, and will have it implemented when they can get a waiver from the fed gov't from Obamacare.
Posted by Microsuck 6 years ago
No prob. Hey contra, why were you opposed to PPACA prior to the debate?
Posted by Contra 6 years ago
Thanks to all who voted and thanks Roy for the debate. I actually was opposed to the PPACA before this debate, and I was able to convince myself that it should not be repealed. Ultimately though, Medicare for All would be a far better route in my opinion.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Excellent debate! in the end, pro wins. See comments for a detailed RFD. Note that it won't be up till tomorrowish as I'm getting ready for bed. Anyways, contra did much better the rest of his debate than in the second round.
Vote Placed by Apollo.11 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's demonizing of the GOP didn't seem to refute Pro's argument that such large change should include more compromise. Overall, both sides made very good arguments, but Con seemed to rely a little too much on the same CBO projections. This was detrimental because Congress is a major source of Obamacare doubt to begin with. The issue of freedom was too glossed over for me. Maybe Con is simply not concerned, but it's something I needed addressed. On balance, Pro presented a stronger case.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Retracting vote until I can write a good RFD. It logged me out in the middle of writing it and I don't want to do it again right now.