I suspect most Republicans, Democrats and independents agree that America's health care system is far from perfect. But last night's debate brought no insights from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan or Republican challenger Thom Tillis about how they'd improve it.
Instead, each talked about how the other has made things worse. Tillis, speaker of the N.C. House, talked about costs associated with the Affordable Care Act and repeatedly called Hagan a promise-breaker for saying people could keep their insurance policies under Obamacare.
Hagan blamed the cancellation of policies on insurance companies and said she pushed for an extension for existing policies. She repeatedly said Tillis wants to "take us back to a broken system," and blamed him for denying poor people coverage because of the General Assembly's decision not to expand Medicaid. Asked to respond to that, Tillis instead returned to his talking points about Hagan's broken promises.
There's been a lot of buzz lately about the role Obamacare will play in the upcoming Senate race. Many have speculated that it's losing juice as a Republican attack point, though Karl Rove seems to disagree.
At this point, it's hard to tell how much emphasis the theme will get in Tillis' advertising. During the debate he mostly folded it into his "rubber stamp for Barack Obama and Harry Reid" theme, while Hagan countered by portraying Tillis as "giving tax cuts to the wealthy and paying for it by gutting education."
It might be a refreshing break to hear them both talk about practical ways to preserve what's good about the American medical system while putting better care within reach of more citizens. But that doesn't make for good zingers.