Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz to debate Obamacare in CNN televised event

Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are set to square off on Tuesday in a televised debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature law.

CNN announced early on Wednesday that it will air a town hall-style debate between the two former presidential candidates moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at George Washington University at 9 p.m. EST.

Republicans have already taken preliminary steps to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

On his second day in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive action ordering agencies to “ease the burden of Obamacare.” Though vague, the order seems to give the administration several paths to undermine the existing law by allowing government agencies discretion over whether to defend and enforce parts of it.

The path for congressional Republicans is less certain.

During a retreat last week in Philadelphia, leaked audio showed that many Republicans privately held concerns at the party’s tentative plan to repeal the law by late spring, and replace it sometime later this year. Further, its unclear which replacement plan the party will attempt to pass  — there are already multiple conflicting plans in the House and Senate.

Cruz has been one of the law’s biggest opponents since he entered the senate. He orchestrated a shutdown of the federal government in 2013 in a theatrical attempt to defund the law, and campaigned against it during the Republican presidential primary in 2016. 

For his part, Sanders hasn’t always been the law’s biggest defender — he once dubbed it a “good Republican program,” and maintained that it did not go far enough to lower healthcare costs and cover uninsured Americans. 

The Vermont senator campaigned for president in 2016 partially on the promise of expanding the federal government’s role in healthcare through a single payer system. 

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