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Warner, Gade Spar in First Debate

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Health care is poised to be one of the key issues in the presidential race this year.

It’s also a flashpoint in the race for U.S. Senate.

As voters head to the polls this fall, the fate of the Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance. A Republican-led lawsuit challenging the law is on the calendar for the Supreme Court, and candidates for office are using the issue as an appeal to voters on both sides.

During a televised debate Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner said his Republican opponent’s opposition to the ACA would undermine protections for preexisting conditions. Daniel Gade said that was offensive.  “There were 25 states when the ACA was passed that already protected people with preexisting conditions," Gade argued, "and the idea that I would take away protections for people with preexisting conditions is offensive and it’s false and it’s defamatory.”

Warner said Gade can’t have it both ways. “If my opponent wants to change his position and say he supported my decision along with John McCain to keep the ACA, he can make that change. But you can’t go out and criticize me for the ACA and then cherry pick which parts of the ACA you want to preserve,” said Warner.

When asked about the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, Warner gave the president a failing grade. Gade sidestepped the question about Trump and gave the country overall a grade of B- or C+.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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