The Channel 5 debate was the feistiest to date in the race. The issue of health care and abortion dominated.
Steve Pagliuca hammered Martha Coakley and Mike Capuano, claiming that they were not reliable votes for health care reform because they won't promise an unconditional support of whatever health care legislation emerges in Congress.
Coakley tried to stay above the fray, saying that, for her, a woman's right to have an abortion is a personal issue. She reiterated that expanding health care coverage would not be worth it if women were denied the right to be covered for abortions by health care plans subsidized by the federal government, but predicted that the issue would be moot, with Congress rejecting an expansion of the prohibition on federal funding for abortions.
Coakley also spoke about her mother's struggles with chemotherapy. She said her experience had demonstrated to her the importance of allowing people to choose whether to pursue aggressive therapies at the end of life or to choose palliative care.
Opponents of President Obama's proposal to expand health care coverage have attacked a measure proposed at one point by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa that would have mandated that a publicly funded health insurance plan cover consultations between patients and doctors over whether to choose aggressive therapies or palliative care. The opponents called such consultations "death panels".
Capuano and Pagliuca got into a heated discussion about health care, with Capuano defending his vote to support moving health care reform forward to the Senate.
This program aired on December 1, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.