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Debate of the Week - bsh1 v thett3

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8/31/2013 11:42:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Resolved: The U.S. ought to guarantee Universal Healthcare to its citizenry
Pro: bsh1
Con: thett3

Reason for selection:

A high quality debate between a promising new DDO member and an established member with a top 10 ELO ranking. I think the debate is exemplary in terms of quality of evidence and critical engagement with opponent's evidence. This is a competitive debate on a contentious political issue.

To participate in this thread, vote on the debate and copy your RFD here.

If you have suggestions for a future "Debate of the Week" feel free to PM me. I only ask that suggestions have at least 1 week left in the voting period.
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8/31/2013 1:12:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/31/2013 11:51:58 AM, MassiveDump wrote:
I actually nominate this one:

Holy sh** she's almost at 200 losses XD
Twocupcakes: "How the f*ck can you respect Osama Bin Laden?!?!"
Stymie13: "Simple: he didn't lie to me"

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies


VP of DDO from Dec 14th 2014 to Jan 1st 2015
Posts: 3,598
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8/31/2013 1:52:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/31/2013 1:12:47 PM, imabench wrote:
At 8/31/2013 11:51:58 AM, MassiveDump wrote:
I actually nominate this one:

Holy sh** she's almost at 200 losses XD

I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
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8/31/2013 7:50:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I read and voted on the debate:

Agreed before: --T--
Agreed after: P----
Conduct: --T--
S&G: ----C
Arguments: P----
Sources: ----C
Total: P-3; C-3

RFD: "S&G - CON had consistently better organization than PRO, with bolded headings and everything. ARGUMENTS - On the issue of empirics, PRO had much more statistics that were more sweeping, where as CON's stats were more focused on isolated cases, as PRO pointed out. CON also seems to agree that uninsurance is bad. SOURCES - Although PRO sites sources, he did not provide links, so it was a hassle to look them up. CON also used more sources."
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9/2/2013 8:24:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago

I lazy-flowed this debate:


To Con because Pro did not offer links or even full citations to sources. This made it actively harder for me to judge this round.


Con wins that the moral obligation of the Resolution should be weighed through consequentialism. This is because most of Pro"s arguments trying to dodge implementation are just arguments that ought=moral obligation. That"s all well and good, but as con points out, Pro offers no moral framework as an alternative to consequentialism.

Therefore, I evaluate Pro"s solvency stemming from solving for uninsured- I grant Pro that UHC will grant everyone insurance and judge the debate based on the impacts.

Con tries to make the case that Pro needs to prove that there is a moral obligation to take care of other"s needs. Yet con makes this point almost as an afterthought and doesn"t justify how this consideration stacks up against consequentialism. Even more problematic is that Con himself advocates from the start that we evaluate "on principle" as the government acting in the citizen"s best interest. So this point seemed like a poor use of argument space.


The Heg impacts depend on the economy link, so I evaluate these issues together. I assume Con just added in Heg to get an impact magnitude boost, but this purpose isn"t served when Con fails to mention it in the final round impact calc.

I think it would have been easier for Pro to just pick a rough outline for an actual UHC plan and defend it. I buy that the Rez allows Pro the flexibility to just defend the general course of action, but I also buy Con arguments that political realities of the US and the example of other countries constrain what a US system could look like and how we can expect a UHC system to perform. I think defining a plan would have given Pro more control over what he has to defend.

I think Con"s US credit scenario outweighs most of the other impacts in this debate- but Pro doesn"t clearly articulate this point, especially not in the final round. This scenario hinges on the impact UHC has on government spending, which is a point worth noting. A lot of Pro"s arguments were just "UHC helps the economy" but if this economic boost doesn"t offset the government expenditure, Con"s impact is still triggered. Again, the point was not articulated by Con so I evaluate the issue largely as "does UHC hurt/help economy?"

Pro relies heavily on the Thorpe and Murray evidence, but it is hard for me to weigh this heavily as a judge if I can"t read the card. I think con"s final round argument that the Thorpe card relies on multiple factors should have been made earlier- its an effective argument but it is a new argument in the final round so I ignored it. Pro"s job lock stat is hard to evaluate, but it exists as a gray blob weighing in Pro"s favor.

That being said, I just don"t think con painted a clear enough story of exactly how UHC will hurt the economy. He says its obvious that UHC runs contra to S&P fiscal tightening recommendations, but doesn"t do much to provide evidence to refute Pro"s economic benefits. I give Con that reducing ER use has negligible economic impact. I think con could/should have made better use of his political gridlock and welfare meltdown arguments to create a case that political realities of the US mean UHC will fail, he gets at this with his R3 argument about how US will underfund like Canada, but that was more in line with the healthcare side of the argument. Pro keeps articulating no specific Link to UHC, and I kind of agree. The link is through spending, but I don"t think
Con is making the case that UHC increases spending (again I think Con lets the argument get conflated with general economic performance). The $17.2k argument is good but articulated late in the debate. Con mentions a few off the cuff cases of how UHC is bankrupting other countries but doesn"t flesh out these empirical examples. Con is creating very good brink arguments, but I am not totally sold on the link.

Pro could have tried making some uniqueness overwhelms the link arguments- if S&P is already considering downgrade, welfare systems are already broken, etc. then Con"s economic impacts are going to happen no matter what. We might as well get UHC if we are screwed either way.

The economy argument is difficult for me to resolve, especially since I can"t read the Thorpe evidence. In the end I think I am not totally sold on Con"s link argument. I also don"t think Pro garners offense on this issue. So there may be some risk to con"s disadvantage but it doesn"t seem substantial.


The part of this debate that really stands out in my mind is the numbers comparison con offers in R3- that UHC survival rates put 90,000 lives at risk vs Pro"s evidence that 40k die due to lack of insurance.

On corruption, Pro wins that status quo has the same issues with greater chance of systematic perpetuation of inequality.

On doctors, Con wins that some amount of doctors will leave the system but I view the number as <20% by taking into account study bias that Pro points out.

I grant that Obamacare offers limited solvency of status quo, using the number of 405 reduciton in uninsured. I think con should have ran with this number to do a more
concrete impact calc and knock down the 40k lives Pro tries to save by 40%.

Con wins that looking at the general population of UHC countries, they underperform the U.S. Pro keeps saying how we shouldn"t look at individual countries, but this is not a very compelling argument. Perhaps is Pro had presented compelling success stories to counter Con"s compelling failure stories the point would have been more convincing.

Again, I think Con should have pushed harder on the argument that US will look like Canada"s system, that it will be underfunded given political gridlock and the bad state of other welfare programs.

Con wins that UHC will leave the U.S. worse off in terms of lives saved by the healthcare system and quality of service.

I think Pro suffers from focusing too much on defensive arguments and not leveraging the positive health impacts of UHC.


Arguments to Con.

I thought Pro started out ahead between R1 and R2, but Con really pulled in front in R3.

Con"s R4 could have been a lot better but he still managed to keep the edge. Both sides would benefit from more comparisons of the impacts. For example, how do I weigh the healthcare impacts against the economic impact? Good debate on both sides.