I do tend to wonder how the debate agendas were set: the domestic vs foreign policy partition was too artificial, easily breached, and left too many topics undiscussed. So maybe there should be more debates, allowing for a wider range of topics and corrective action.
Over at McClatchy, Kevin Hall points out that trade got very little discussion. I myself have trouble figuring out how just knocking down trade barriers will bring more jobs back home; nor will the other Republican go-to talking point of reducing the corporate tax. Neither of those solutions will help overcome the differentials between the cost of labor here and the cost of labor there.
But I do remember that where health insurance gets paid for has an impact on the cost of imported foreign goods. If in another country health insurance isn't paid for by companies, then companies are free to hire more employees as demand requires without concerning itself with health insurance overhead and building that into the costs of their goods. Those costs stay at home. But here in the US, where the manufacturer or company absorbs the cost of health insurance (some of which goes against the employees' wages, some of which goes into the cost of the goods), the part that goes into the cost of the goods goes into the export price. And the domestic price too.
So if our companies' goods have a higher price both here and abroad due to our not having a government option, we've handicapped our manufacturers both here and abroad.
Unfortunately, talking about international trade reminds one of giant sucking sounds. But it doesn't have to be that way; the government option would have gone a long way towards reducing our costs.