In the alternate universe of Earth 2, where Democrats went with the outsider in 2016 and Republicans picked their staunch, conservative partisan, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would have held three presidential debates last fall. In this reality, they met up for a CNN town hall debate on Tuesday night and argued about the Affordable Care Act. They did not, of course, agree on much.
"Should Congress move swiftly to repeal ObamaCare? Absolutely," Cruz said. Sanders said that "Republicans are now in a panic" because Americans know repealing the law without replacing it would be a disaster, politically and for working families. Cruz advocated giving people greater choice and fewer guarantees, and businesses fewer mandates, while Sanders said he favors a single-payer system that treats health care as a basic right. They agreed to dislike big pharmaceutical companies, but not on what to do about it, and according to CNN's postmortem, Sanders had his facts straight more than Cruz. Here's the debate in 90 seconds.
In reality, Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. They may not be panicking, as Sanders says, but they also don't seem to be coalescing around a plan to replace ObamaCare. "To be honest, there's not any real discussion taking place right now," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters on Tuesday. "At the retreat, which y'all unfortunately were able to listen to every word of... we had breakout sessions where it was just the Senate talking about it, and you would have heard more of the same." Any plan will have its cost, he added. "I don't see a scenario where people are pushing to insure less people. You gotta have money to pay for that."