RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Candidates for the 5th District squared off on Wednesday night in Rappahannock County in their first of four public debates.

Republican candidate Denver Riggleman and Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn discussed President Trump, the economy, and gun laws during the debate, but the focal point of the evening was health care.

Riggleman and Cockburn went back and forth on the topic of health care for close to an hour. Cockburn pledged her support for a single-payer, Medicare for all healthcare system. She cited countries such as Canada and Germany as having single-payer systems at half the cost of American health care.

“We have a dysfunctional system,” Cockburn said.

Riggleman countered her point with a prediction that Medicare would become bankrupt by 2025, saying people should be able to choose their own care, not the government.

“It’s cruel and unusual punishment to think the government can take care of everyone’s healthcare,” Riggleman said.

The congressional-hopefuls were also at odds on their support of GOP tax cuts. Riggleman supported the cuts, saying his business – Silverback Distillery – was able to hire 10 new employees because of the tax breaks. Cockburn disapproves of the tax cuts, which she says would add more than $1 trillion to the national deficit.

Cockburn stated a desire for stricter gun control legislation during the debate. Riggleman denies a need to change the current gun laws.

The candidates are set to square off three more times before the November election. The next debate is scheduled for September 20 at Madison County High School.