WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is defending the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “magnificent work” that will ultimately help millions of people who are currently uninsured or underinsured get health care coverage.

MetroNews file photo

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said a lot of people still do not know what is in the Affordable Care Act.

Rockefeller’s defense of the ACA, which is also called Obamacare, came during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

During the hearing, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified about ongoing work to fix the problems with healthcare.gov, the enrollment portal for the federal insurance marketplace more than 30 states, including West Virginia, are using.

She said the goal is still to finish that work within the month.

“We are not where we need to be,” Sebelius admitted Wednesday.  “It is a pretty aggressive schedule to get to the end of the punch list by the end of November.”

Senators lined up to talk to Sebelius about cancelled polices, enrollment delays and their own complaints about the management of the entire process.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) called the launch of healthcare.gov an “absolute debacle.”

Rockefeller told Sebelius some of the criticisms of the rollout are justified.  “West Virginians have a right to know about your plans to correct past mistakes.  And you should know I’m deeply frustrated with the problems many Americans are experiencing as they try to sign up for health care coverage,” said Rockefeller.

Overall, though, Rockefeller said he thinks the legislation he spent years crafting with other members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is good and, he said, the marketplace’s problems should not overshadow the “lifesaving benefits of the law.”

“My people in West Virginia don’t necessarily share that view right now because, I think, they have the problem that so many others have, that they simply don’t know what’s in the bill because of the absolutely maniacal, really admirable, but maniacal Republican attack machine,” said Rockefeller.

Already, he said, almost 60,000 West Virginians have successfully enrolled in the Medicaid expansion that was part of the health care reform law and, in the long term, he said he believes the law will help people who currently do not have health insurance or are one major health problem away from financial ruin.

“If there’s anything that can be worked out, it certainly would be the website.  It’s a technology matter and that will happen.  I’m not for delaying, unless they can’t fix it in time, in which case, then I think, maybe a penalty or something should be lifted,” said Rockefeller.

“But I’m incredibly proud of the bill.”

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  • jack paulden

    I think Mr. Rockefeller was telling more truths than any of the Senators. He nailed it .. even hinted toward racism by White Christian Senators toward our
    Black Christian President.

    You can say what you like but Christianity seems doomed by its hate groups that equate hate with patriotism, and this seems to suggest if you are not a White Republican Christian ... then you ain't (sic) a Christian...and all... Ha Ha! Well perhaps they are Right .. if it is a false religion then they win... and can have it.. I will remain a non-believer.

    • wvtd

      I am praying for you jack.

  • susanf1218

    "My people" - he says. HIS people?? What are we, his slaves? Typical attitude and mindset of the elite - they know what we need and what is good for us - or so they think. It is beyond time for Rockefeller to retire - he has been completely irrelevant for a long time now and these comments just show how out of touch he is with "his" people! And to be proud that another 60,000 people are now on the Medicaid rolls - absolutely ridiculous!

    • Hillbilly

      No he must think he is Moses... leading "his" people....

  • Health help

    I would love to see the site verified where he states 60,000 WV residents have signed up. That number has grown dramatically from a week ago. Hard to believe it is accurate. Anyone know source of update to verify info?

    • Scott

      He didn't say the health care site.He said Medicaid which they don't pay for the state does.

  • wvtd

    I bet he does like a law that will not affect him one bit but sure hurts the working men and women who are already trying to stretch a dollar that is being driven down in value by the day with the incompetence of Obama.

    we have to endure for 3 more long years of this liberal socialist nonsense while the people in d.c. waste our hard earned money on utopian pipe dreams.

    I am glad he is leaving. good riddance to you jaybird.

  • Medman

    "Overall, though, Rockefeller said he thinks the legislation he spent years crafting with other members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is good and, he said, the marketplace’s problems should not overshadow the “lifesaving benefits of the law.”
    He actually thinks he had a major role in designing this nightmare. First of all, the only thing he did was go to the meetings, listen and vote the way they told him. Secondly, he preached for years to those of us in the business that single government payer was the only answer. The best outcome for WV is that he is retiring.

  • CaptainQ

    Easy for Jay to defend ObamaCare. He's so rich, he doesn't even need it! He probably has no real clue how it works or even what's in the law! He's definitely one of the loyal Democrats in Congress who took Nancy Pelosi's advice to "vote on it so we can find out what's in it!"

    So long, Jay! Have a happy and LONG retirement from the U.S. Senate!

  • Mike

    People don't know what's in the bill because of the "maniacal" Republican attack machine? What a bunch of rubbish. Fact is, this Administration and its minions have LIED to the American people regarding their ability to keep their health care plans and doctors over the last 3+ years and now, having been exposed, are scurrying like the rats they are trying to blame their incompetence on someone else. You incredibly proud of that, Senator?

    • Hillbilly

      Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the house at the time, famously said, "We have to pass this bill to see what is in it." Democrats didn't even know what was going on here.

    • ConservativeRealist

      Oh, and Obama didn't lie when he said, "If you are happy with your current plan, you can keep it." He didn't lie when he said that no one would lose their health insurance?-?-? Gee Mike, when did Obama switch to being a Republican?

  • Alum

    Ho hum, same crap as always from Old Two-Cell.

  • jb

    He helped make the Kool-Aid and then drank it!!!!!

    • Hillbilly

      He was careful to make sure Congress did not subscribe to it!!!!

  • Jephre

    He's proud of a bill that raises medical insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, cancels coverage for millions of Americans, reduces access to doctors and hospitals, throws many thousands of employees to part-time work, and is so bad that waivers had to be given to large numbers of political allies? Wow.

  • RogerD

    An even bigger debacle than Obamacare is that voters can elect Rockefeller and Hatch as senators.

  • Pruntytown

    Over 30 yrs. he has never understood the term "elected official", and WV voters (unions) either never understood or cared enough to throw him out of office.

    This is a typical statement from him, "My people in West Virginia don’t necessarily share that view right now..." He has always claimed to be smarter and known better than the people he pretends to represent. Now that he doesn't have to worry about reelection he can at least start telling parial truths.

    • Hillbilly

      What he mean is "My people in West Virginia don’t necessarily share MY view right now..."
      I have emailed him my opinion on things before and got his reply saying "That's too bad, I am voting differently." Beyond time he retired..

  • thornton

    "My people"....That phrase, when used by Bluejay, almost makes me want to brave the ObamaCare signup...quickly!

  • Hillbilly

    Exactly why he is retiring, he know he would never get reelected again after this.

  • Mr. Big

    The entire Obamacare law should be repealed.
    It's nothing more than a tax and a direct threat to our freedom in this country. Of course Rockefeller is going to support it he and the rest of congress are exempt from it.

    • Vito

      U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is defending the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “magnificent work” ??????????

      ROCKESMELLER is the "magnificent piece of work !!!!
      He cashed in on West Va. politics by his daddy's $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Never trust a man that changes political partys just to win an election. !! EABIG1ROCK

    • joe

      red state red state red state