Democrat Debate Shows Split Over the Future of America

Democrat Debate Shows Split Over the Future of America

Bryan Keogh

Politics, Americas

Ten Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Atlanta on Nov. 20.

The top candidates vying to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 took the stage in Atlanta for their fifth televised debate on Nov. 20.

With 10 participants and only two hours to discuss dozens of complicated issues, viewers may have had a hard time keeping up as candidates waded into the weeds of their pet policy proposals.

Fortunately, our scholars – who have written dozens of articles on the key issues of the 2020 Democratic primary campaign – have you covered.

Here are four economic issues that came up in the Nov. 20 debate, along with four stories from our archive that provide some context to help you evaluate what the candidates said.

1. Medicare for … whom?

Voters, especially Democrats, say health care is the top issue heading into 2020. So it’s hardly a surprise that the topic has dominated the first four debates and was a hot topic in Atlanta.

Several candidates debated “Medicare for all” and how far to go. Mayor Pete Buttigieg pushed his “Medicare for all who want it” proposal, which would offer a government plan while letting people keep their private insurance. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders argued the best way forward is to make everyone sign up for a government-run single-payer system – the main difference between them being how soon to make it happen.

A sticking point has been the high price tag. Gerald Friedman, an economist at University of Massachusetts Amherst, has crunched the numbers on several different versions of a single-payer health care system and estimates a full-scale plan could cost as much as US$40 trillion over a decade.

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