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Republicans spar over Obamacare and pre-existing health conditions

Trump says he would throw out Obamacare as Rubio attacks him on policy and Cruz accuses him of wanting socialized medicine at Thursdays GOP debate

As his opponents in the Republican debate on Thursday sought to reel in his big polling lead, Donald Trump came under heavy fire. On domestic policy, after fierce opening exchanges on immigration, one of the key issues on which senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio focused was healthcare.

Rubio went after Trump on policy specifics; Cruz accused him of supporting socialized medicine for all.

First came a long exchange over the intricacies of plans to repeal Obamacare that descended into characteristic bickering about who repeated himself more.

Amongst the bickering, however, Trump said he would throw out Obamacare but keep requirements that insurers cover pre-existing conditions.

This prompted Rubio to unfurl an effective attack line: You may not be aware of this Donald, because you dont follow this stuff very closely, but heres what happened, he said highlighting Trumps general lack of policy detail.

Rubio then said Obamacare included a bailout for insurance companies who couldnt sustain the initial costs of the new law.

Cruz followed and went for the jugular, accusing Trump of advocating for socialized medicine.

Saying Trump liked the federal womens health agency Planned Parenthood, while he would investigate it and prosecute any infractions, Cruz added: Donald wants to end [Obamacare] because he says that it doesnt nearly go far enough.

For decades Donald has been advocating socialized medicine… If youre a small business owners, Donald Trumps socialized health care will kill more jobs than Obamacare.

Cruz then asked: True or false: you said the government should pay for everyones health care.

Trump said: False.

Then Cruz brought up as an attack a line from a couple debates ago, in which Trump said he would not let people die on the sidewalk.

Trump tood by his position, saying: I will not let people die on the streets if Im president.

And then, the billionaire managed a moment of humanity, which strangely under the force of Cruzs cross-examination felt like some kind of moment of grace: Were going to have private healthcare. I am not going to let people die on the streets or the sidewalks of this country, if I am president.

You might be fine with it, he said to Cruz. Im not fine with it.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/25/trump-rubio-cruz-republican-debate-healthcare