During an at times confrontational second debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, health care and the landmark health care reform bill were, surprisingly, not a focus, and when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act did come up, it was primarily used as an attack vehicle.

Romney used the health care law to attack Obama’s record. “This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he'd do,” Romney said during the October 16 debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. “… He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It's gone up by 2,500 [dollars] a year. And if ‘Obamacare’ is passed — or implemented — it's already been passed — If it's implemented fully, it'll be another 2,500 [dollars] on top.”

Although no audience member asked a question directly about PPACA, Romney continued his attack later in the debate: “And the thing I find most troubling about ‘Obamacare’ — well, it's a long list, but one of the things I find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask them what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people.”

For Obama, who also referred to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as ‘Obamacare,’ it too was a sparring point to show that Romney may have contradicted himself since his time as governor of Massachusetts. “When [Romney] said, we're going to repeal ‘Obamacare,’ first thing I'm going to do — despite the fact that it's the same health care plan that he passed in Massachusetts and is working well — he said, ‘me too,’” Obama said. “That is not the kind of leadership that you need, but you should expect that those are promises he's going to keep.”

Later, Obama defended his record on health care. “I said that we would put in place health care reform to make sure that insurance companies can't jerk you around, and if you don't have health insurance, that you'd have a chance to get affordable insurance, and I have,” he said.

Throughout the 90-minute debate, the word “Obamacare” came up a scant five times. This left those wanting the candidates to address the issue of health care wanting more. Said Sam Fleet, president of AmWINS Group Benefits in a Tweet near the end of the debate, “Where’s the health care question?”


Image: Bloomberg

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