Trump, Biden Face Off in Chaotic First Debate

September 30, 2020 – President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took to the stage in Cleveland, OH on Tuesday night for the first of three debates, speaking to each other and with the moderator on topics ranging from the law on affordable care, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, racism and social unrest.

The debate took place at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. The audience was limited to less than 100 people, and all of them were tested for the coronavirus. The president’s family and supporters largely appeared not to wear masks during the debate, but took their seats wearing them. Biden’s wife Jill wore a mask as she sat in the audience.

Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who was moderator, began by asking both candidates about Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett. The President and the GOP-led Senate are pushing for Barrett to sit ahead of the Nov. 3 election. She could potentially take part in oral arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act scheduled for Nov. 10, and there was a brief discussion of its potential impact on any vote involving Roe v Wade, but the debate did not never happened. back to the issue of abortion.

The Trump administration is backing the lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by 18 Republican-led states.

“He is currently in court trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said, adding that if it were canceled, around 20 million people would lose their insurance. He said Barrett had expressed the view that the law was unconstitutional.

After Barrett’s appointment, The New York Times reported that if Obamacare is canceled, 21 million Americans could lose insurance, either Medicaid coverage or a policy purchased on a health insurance exchange, also known as the Marketplace.

“The biggest problem you have is you’re going to turn off 180 million people with their private health care that they’re very happy with,” Trump said, apparently alluding to the Medicare for All program put forward by previous Democratic candidates for election. presidential election, but which Biden and the Democratic Party did not approve.

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“What I suggested is that we develop Obamacare,” Biden replied. His plan is to strengthen the Affordable Care Act by expanding eligibility through a public option and increasing grants. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that extending the grants would reduce the cost of coverage for almost everyone who now purchases coverage through a marketplace and for those who have been excluded from the price, too.

But the plan will also increase federal spending, Kaiser said. Some have estimated that the Biden plan will cost $ 750 billion over 10 years.

“Your party wants to become socialist,” Trump said of Biden’s health plan.

When Wallace told Trump, “you have never in 4 years come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare,” the president replied, “I got rid of the individual mandate.”

Wallace persisted and said the president signed a “largely symbolic order to protect pre-existing conditions,” referring to an executive order signed on September 24. The order says that if Congress does not propose legislation to stop surprise medical bills by the end of December, the Department of Health and Human Services could take administrative action to prevent such bills.

“What is Trump’s health care plan?” Wallace asked.

“There is nothing symbolic,” Trump said. He said he had lowered the price of drugs. He also said that with insulin, “I get it for so cheap, it’s like water.”

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Wallace then switched to COVID-19, noting that the United States leads the world with some 7 million coronavirus cases and more than 200,000 deaths, figures confirmed by the Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard.

Trump touted his decision in the spring to block visitors from China and said if he had not acted there would be 2 million dead, not 200,000. “We are now weeks away from a vaccine, ”said the president.

Wallace pointed out that CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, and Moncef Slaoui, MD, the head of the Government’s Operation Warp Speed ​​vaccine development program, said it would be next summer before the vaccine was widely available. .

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“I don’t agree with both of them,” Trump said, adding that he had spoken to vaccine makers and said that a vaccine would be available sooner. “People like this would rather make things political than save lives,” he said.

The president said it was possible “that we will have the answer by November 1” and that the vaccine could be delivered “right away”.

“This is the same man who said at Easter it would be gone,” Biden said. Trump has in fact said he hopes the virus will be sufficiently under control by Easter – April 12 – that the restrictions on shelter in place can be lifted. Trump first said the virus would “go away” on February 28.

Biden told Wallace he was cautious about opening schools and businesses because Trump “doesn’t have a plan.”

Wallace asked Trump what he thought of the masks, noting that he wondered how well they worked. “I put on a mask when I think I need it,” Trump said. “I agree with the masks.”

“Masks make a big difference,” Biden said, noting that Redfield said if everyone wore a mask and continued to distance themselves socially by January, it would likely save up to 100,000 lives.

“They also said the opposite,” Trump said.

“No serious person has said otherwise,” Biden retorted.

“Dr Fauci said the opposite,” Trump said, insisting that Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had changed his stance on masks.

Medscape Medical News

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