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College Republicans and Young Democrats face off on health care and the economy

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Both the Young Democrats and College Republicans respond to question from the countries financial problems to healthcare.

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Mark Donahue slowly spins a pen while he waits for a chance to respond in the Young Democrats vs. College Republicans debates Wednesday.

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Zack Charat and Justin Bryant, both of the UW College Republicans, discuss possible rebuttals during Wednesday's health care debate against UW Young Democrats.

The Young Democrats and the College Republicans debated health care and the economy in last night’s political debate, a quarterly UW tradition between the two parties’ supporters.

“I think it encourages a discussion on important topics,” said Justin Bryant, president of the College Republicans. “Also, it brings a certain relevance to these issues which students would otherwise just read about in the newspaper.”

Previous topics have included same-sex marriage, education and the Iraq War. This quarter, the politicos chose health care and the economy because of their relevance to current events.

Bryant and his teammates presented a health-care plan mirroring that of their own political party in Congress. He suggested that, to increase competition, the carrier must be extended past state borders.

“For instance, right now in Washington [state], there are four to five carriers, and ideally, we’d like to expand that to the 15 or 30 national carriers to add competition,” said Bryant. “Adding high-risk pools in every state and on a national level is really important. If you are denied health insurance, then you can get it through the state as a high-risk group.”

The democrats responded by citing a Washington Post article that said their plan was actually cheaper, covering 12 times as many people while saving $36 billion more than the Republicans.

And the debate didn’t end there. Further discussion led both parties to the topic of financial regulation, as they attempted to answer the question of how to prevent future financial crises.

“The economy is so complex and so globalized that to let a company collapse would not just make the people responsible feel the failure, but would have a cascading effect that has the potential to hurt everyone involved,” said Young Democrat Zach Charat. “We either need to prevent companies from becoming too big or regulate them so they don’t make irresponsible decisions.”

Though the sides could reach no agreement on last night’s topics, both concurred that the atmosphere of these political discussions tended to grow more passionate as the night wore on.

“It’s friendly, but certainly combative,” said Quinn Majeski, president of the Young Democrats. “We’re two groups with very strong beliefs who aren’t afraid to express our views.”

The College Republicans and the Young Democrats rarely collaborate on political campaigns or campus projects, but both groups feel that this quarterly discussion is a useful resource for students who want to make their own decisions on hot topics.

“From the republican perspective, we’re vastly outnumbered on campus, so presenting our ideas is just an opportunity to represent our party. Our goal is basically to demonstrate that there are two sides to every argument,” Bryant said. “And hopefully, they’ll see that our ideas are better and become a republican.”

Reach reporter Celina Kareiva at news@dailyuw.com.

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