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Manchin plans to meet with other former governors to find health care solution

By WENDY HOLDREN

The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — After two more Republican senators joined those opposing the overhaul of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the vote on the replacement bill has been halted. Another vote, however, to repeal the health care measure is now being considered.

Moving forward, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he wants to bring together a bipartisan group of senators who formerly served as governors to come up with a solution for health care in the U.S.

“Eleven of us are former governors in the Senate,” Manchin said. “We all had the same challenges — economy, infrastructure, Medicaid, education. We must help each other find a solution.”

 He said this group of men and women can work together in a bipartisan way, as they had to do as governors of their respective states.

“If you just work from the hardcore right and the hardcore left… you end up with what we have right now. Nothing.”

He said the former governors’ discussion will begin with finding a way to take repeal off the table, as well as introducing more product mix into the market.

“There has to be a better approach,” he said, citing the need to continue providing coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, as well as those who obtained coverage under Medicaid expansion.

Manchin applauded an announcement from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in which she said she would vote against a repeal.

In the release, Capito said, “As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people. For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

She continued, “I have serious concerns about how we continue to provide affordable care to those who have benefited from West Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid, especially in light of the growing opioid crisis. All of the Senate health care discussion drafts have failed to address these concerns adequately.”

Capito said with the impact on West Virginians in mind, she cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses her concerns and the needs of state residents.

Ultimately, Manchin said he does not believe the Republicans have the votes they need to repeal the health care bill.

“Maybe eventually they’ll sit down and start talking to us… I’m hoping repeal is taken off the table.”

As a West Virginia Democrat, Manchin said his main focus is getting people into a healthier lifestyles and into a productive workforce.

“We’re going to be on top of this thing until there’s some kind of result.”

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