U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, whose political acumen continues to sharpen with age and experience, has joined with a group of fellow moderate Senate Democrats and one Independent to try to fix Obamacare.

The group of six—Manchin, Senators Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Mark Warner, D-Va. and Angus King, I-Maine—announced last week a series of proposals they say will improve the troubled Affordable Care Act.

Three of the six, Begich, Landrieu and Warner, are up for re-election this year, and they can read the polls.  The latest survey from the Associated Press finds that only 26 percent of Americans support the law, the lowest level since it passed four years ago.

Manchin is not up for election until 2018, but he’s been working since he first went to Washington to find a middle way.  (Manchin was elected in 2010 in a special election following Senator Byrd’s death.)  He’s been critical of Obamacare, but not willing to push to repeal it, preferring instead for a package of remedies.

Here are some of the key proposals from the Gang of Six:

–Creation of a “Copper Plan” in the health exchange, a cheaper alternative to the current gold, silver and bronze plans that would provide low-cost catastrophic coverage for young and low-income consumers.

–Funding for consumer-driven health insurance cooperatives that could compete with health plans on the exchange to provide more low-cost options.

–Improved tax credits for small- and medium-sized businesses to help them offset the cost of providing coverage.

–Raising the employee threshold for businesses required to provide insurance from 50 to 100 employees, thus excluding the majority of small businesses from the mandate.

The next question is whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow any of these proposals to come up for a vote.  Reid, President Obama and other stalwarts of the Affordable Care Act worry that the changes could further weaken an already unsteady law.

All the while, Manchin continues to carve out a place among the diminished breed of moderate Democrats in the Senate.  He’s joined forces on their health care fix plan, and he has campaigned for Begich and North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen.

Those chits add up, and they will help position Manchin as a substantial figure in 2016, especially if Hillary Clinton is the nominee and the Democratic Party swings back closer to the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • larryoldboy

    After hearing J Manchin on your show venting about being misled by the foks making the Mine Safety documentary without mentioning that if favors Don Blankenship, I cannot help commenting. The POTUS went around for years spreading lie after lie in support of his ACA, and J Manchin had every reason to be outraged when it was discovered that the president's campaign was based on the audacious use of calculated deception. That fact makes ACA-supporter Joe Manchin into something of a useful idiot, does it not? Where's the outrage? Maybe pushing for a fixit bill for the ACA along with some other Dems is Joe's way of making amends and salving his own conscience, not unlike what Don Blankenship is doing with his documentary take on the UBB mine disaster. Which begs the question: which one the pot, which one the kettle?

  • beachblonde

    You forgot to list that they want the law to be changed that family members would be counted as one for insurance purposes. Always ready to protect him & his. If his daughter claims an unearned master's degree, how many will they claim as family to get cheaper premiums?

  • Big Deal

    I've been saying this since Sandy Hook...Joe Manchin will run for President in 2016 and will end up accepting the VP nomination. His stance on common sense gun regulation, Obamacare fixes, and responsible energy development are very popular with the majority of Americans. It may not be popular with either of the major parties, but it is popular with average Americans. I believe that people are tired of bipartisan politics and will come to the center on the 2016 vote. We should be proud that one of our own has put himself in a position to do this. He has played the game and navigated the waters well up to this point. If Joe Manchin makes it to the White House, that will be the biggest thing that ever happened to the state...embrace it!

  • Retiredteacher

    Yeah tomblin takes initive for WVU in the NIT who agrees.

  • ole sasquatch

    Manchin has gained a lot of respect from conservatives at the National level for a democrat and should feel comfortable about it, if he wants to throw his hat in the ring for president.

  • Eric

    Hoppy,
    The Democrats will NEVER again swing back closer to the middle. All Joe is worried about it Joe. Hey West Virginians..voting for the "good ol boy" working for you??? That's what I thought!

  • cutty77

    From what i've read Ky has done one of the best Jobs in The Country on Obamacare,

  • PMQ

    BloJoe=Political Hack

  • Retired Charlie

    Hop,

    Joe knows that all politics are local. Winning friends and influencing people in Washington is secondary. He wants air time and will do whatever he needs to get it. Joe also knows that when you put lipstick on a pig you still have a pig. His mistake is to he doesn't realize that I know that too.

  • DWM

    This isn't healthcare, it is another welfare program and results in a huge transfer of wealth.

    These "fixes" won't change that.

    This will destroy our quality of healthcare, disincentivize effort and success, and encourage poor economic decision making by a segment of our population that needs to be encouraged to make the best economic decisions possible. In short, it makes it the perfect Democrat program possible.

    They've got to keep their 49% needing a hand out.

    • WVU

      Wake up feeling self righteous?

  • CaptainQ

    Joe Manchin's stand against ObamaCare probably comes too late to satisfy the majority of WV voters he angered over his backing of gun control several years ago. Seems that gun control is a true 'third rail', 'sacred cow' issue to many residents of the Mountain State. Whether it's fair or not, all of MoJo's actions in Washington will for now on be seen through this prism.

    Will Joe Manchin be able to pull a magical Jay Rockefeller-ish 'amnesia spell' on WV voters in 2018 to make them forget all about his backing of gun control and liberal/loyal Democratic Party voting record in the Senate? The trouble is, MoJo is lacking the main ingredient in Jay's election year amnesia spell: BIG MONEY. But by then, the name 'Obama' could be a distant memory, so perhaps Joe Manchin CAN make the magic work long enough to get reelected again. Time will tell.

  • Wirerowe

    Hoppy here is my speculation on Senator Manchin The West Virginia liberals think he is too conservative too be a California/ New England democrat, the conservative think he has flown the coop and he has gained the life long enmity of the NRA for his post Connecticut stance. But I think his bipartisan efforts such as bipartisan receptions on his boat are what is needed in Washington even if the main thrust is to have him stand out and get media attention. His taking a position supporting amending the affordable health care act is on the side of the of a strong majority of Americans and gains him chips with those senate democrats who are in tough reelection battles. If the republicans win the senate in November I think his bipartisan efforts could mean he has more stroke than other democrats. If the Senate maintains a slight majority, with his swing vote he could become the deal maker on key issues. What doesn't seem to work in West Virginia I think works in Washington.

    • Silas Lynch

      Wire,

      I've watched Joe over that last several months on various NEWS networks and it becomes nauseating very quickly as to how many times he can work "I've been working to fashion a bi-partisan solution to this problem" into every paragraph.

      This particular group he's ride'n with now are all democrats save one, a Maine Independent that caucuses with the Democrats... Hardly a bi-partisan group-- Yet many pretend it is.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Skippy,

    May a plague rain down on the house of the EVIL Manchin that brings suffering & pain. Or at the very least brings him the pain of losing an election.

    To quote 10 Bears from the Clint Eastwood flick 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', "It's sad that Governments are Chiefed by the Double Tongues."

    I'm Jim N Canada
    L8r

  • Medman

    The full impact of the penalties, deductibles and premium costs will not kick-in for another two years, just before the 2016 elections if they do not delay it again. That is when people will realize how much this thing will cost workers and taxpayers.

  • Shinnston Guy

    Thanks Hoppy. I think people forget that after the ACA was presented to Congress the President said repeatedly, "If there are things that need to be fixed, we'll work together and fix them." I am not going to bash the entire R party here, but I can tell you that from all the emails and communication I get from McKinley's office, he has NEVER ONCE mentioned anything other than killing the healthcare law. It is nice to know that someone doesn't have their "head in the sand" and wants to make corrective fixes where needed. I am not a Manchin super fan by any means, but compromise is a virtue that should be recognized.

    • Aaron

      "The President's Program as announced today as a National Health Partnership Program I believe is really a partnership program that will provide billions of dollars to the health insurance companies. It's really a partnership between the administration and the insurance companies. It's not a partnership between the patients and the doctors in this nation."

      I wonder Mr. Guy, do you disagree to that leading Senator's opposition to the proposed health care plan?

    • Silas Lynch

      That’s outrageously disingenuous of you to suggest President Obama has been open to compromise all along on his Healthcare Bill—The only thing compromised in its passing was the process in which we actually passed it--- It was passed with a heavy gavel from then Majority Leaders Pelosi and Reid of—“We must first pass the bill to know what’s in in the Bill” No debate!! There was absolutely ZERO compromise by the democrats on the bill.

      • ShinnstonGuy

        Sorry if my comments were not typed well. I agree that the bill was pushed through with no room for compromise. However, there are repeated speeches in which the President says, "If there is a problem with the bill, let's fix it." He has never once said, "It's gold and can't be touched." Anyway, my point was that McKinley has not once proved a solution to the issues in the bill other than to revoke it entirely. That is not compromise on his part.