WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said opposition to the Affordable Care Act should not be used to shut down the federal government on Oct. 1.
“I will not vote to shut down the government,” said Manchin in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. “We need to work together as Americans to solve these problems so we can get our economy back on track and create American jobs.”
Manchin’s statement clarified comments he made to Bloomberg earlier in the day.
Bloomberg reported Manchin said Thursday morning of the individual mandate in the health care reform law, “Don’t put the mandate on the American public right now. Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”
Such a stand would separate him from his Democrat colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
“I have always opposed the individual mandate and I continue to have concerns with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost and choices West Virginians will have in the health care exchanges,” said Manchin in his statement.
The U.S. Senate is currently considering a spending bill that would fund the federal government beyond Monday, but defund Obamacare.
Republicans have floated a possible compromise that would delay the individual mandate, requiring everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty, for a year.
Enrollment for the health insurance exchanges or marketplaces, created in the Affordable Care Act, is scheduled to open to the uninsured on Tuesday for coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company that will offer health care plans in West Virginia’s marketplace. Officials have said there will be eleven possible individual plans.