College Republicans, College Democrats Debate Obamacare And China


The Penn State College Republicans and College Democrats debated the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and the United States’ role in the South China Sea on Wednesday night of the second annual PSU Votes Week.

The debate began with the topic of Obamacare, a hot button issue in the current presidential election. Michael Straw, the President of College Republicans, was first to speak. “Congress must repeal Obamacare and replace this law with something that is far more beneficial and less controversial,” Straw said. “Congress should stop funding this. I think it’s funny that Democrats want to prop up health insurance companies. Before that it was loan companies, before that, car companies, before that, banks.”

In her rebuttal, Sophia Mills, representing the College Democrats, emphasized that because of Obamacare, there are 20 million more insured people. Mills then pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is actually a Republican ideal.

During the first question and answer session, Straw asked Ricardo Rojas, representing the College Democrats, why they needed to pass a 2000-page law that created the healthcare exchanges that many states didn’t want.

“The healthcare system as it was, was fundamentally broken,” Rojas said. “While the Affordable Care Act hasn’t fixed everything, just saying we’re going to pass a pre-existing conditions law or pass a catastrophic illness law would not have achieved the goal of getting more people insured, which is what prevents people from getting into these catastrophic illnesses in the first place.”

When it came time for Rojas to ask his question, he asked, “Why has the Republican Party attempted to repeal [Obamacare] 56 times when the idea of the original mandate, the most important part of Obamacare, originated as an idea from the Heritage Foundation in 1989 and was proposed in Congress in 1993 by a Republican Senator with 19 Republican co-sponsors?” Straw replied that no Republican was asked to contribute to the law. “The Democrats have decided to create a polarized environment by not allowing for any sort of changes to be made in Obamacare,” he said.

The second topic debated was China’s expansion in the South China sea, a crucial trading route in the Pacific. During the opening statement of the second topic, Rojas asserted that it is the democrats position to decrease the militarization of the South China sea. “When you violate a country’s sovereign claims with warships and warplanes, that is tantamount to an act of war,” said Rojas. “The fact that the Chinese haven’t fired on our ships is proof that they are not looking to fight with the United States.”

Chris Konzel, representing the College Republicans, replied, “China will use military force against these smaller powers. China is not going to come and use active aggression to a power that is equal to them.”

In the second question and answer session of the debate, Konzel asked a question for the Democrats first: “Why should we act in favor of protecting other nations with their right to use the South China Sea?” Rojas emphasized that the Democrats don’t want to demilitarize the South China Sea.

“China has already been increasing their militarization and yet we’re doing nothing about it,” Konzel said. “They abduct fishing boats in these disputed waters because they claim that it’s theres.” Rojas fired back, “So you want to go to war with China? In order to defend these fishing boats from military aggression by China, you’re going to have to fight these Chinese ships.”

While it was clear by the end of the debate both parties weren’t budging from their original resolutions, the debate concluded amicably.

Here’s a live recorded live stream of the debate:


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Patrick Cines

Patrick is a senior Marketing major from Princeton, NJ. He typically writes about politics, tech, and business. Patrick is a strong believer in Henry Grunwald's famous quote, "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air." You can follow him on Twitter at @patrickcines, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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