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

  • 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.

  • Hop'sHip

    Stand firm and insist on full repeal of this law. Those millions who lose healthcare access can move to Canada or some other Socialist country that cares. Healthcare is meant for the deserving.

    • Aaron

      I don't mean to date you Mr. Hip but when Republicans floated this plan as an alternative to what Mrs. Clinton was trying to do in 93/94, did you support it?

      I just wonder because while I don't get how the services of another individual are a right, I have no problem with providing a service that benefits all as was intended by the general Welfare clause of our Constitution.

      As such, I could support a plan that expanded the already prevalent "affordable" health care that was present in this country prior to Harry Reid's version of Richard Nixon's universal healthcare proposal that was killed by Ted Kennedy in 1973.

      Perhaps if we had expanded our VA centers to accept other patients, provided more resources to our Health Departments and organizations like WV Healthright and Cabin Creek Clinics (2 examples of organizations that provide income based fees for care) we as a nation wouldn't have had to write a bill that rewards insurance companies instead of lowering the cost of health care.

      • Silas Lynch

        Aaron,

        "I don't mean to date you Mr. Hip"--- That certainly isn't the first time he's heard that, I'm sure--- I'm just surprised he's come out of his mom's basement to hear it more than once...

        • Hop'sHip

          I'm confused by your comment, Silas. My mom hasn't had a basement for several years. She died over a year ago and for many years prior to that was living in pain in an assisted living environment. Should I assume that this wasn't about my mother but was rather code language designed to belittle me because you have concluded I lack your education, intelligence and sophistication? I will ponder that. I'll refrain from making any assumptions about you or your mother.

        • Aaron

          It appears if I've chosen a poor set of words. My meaning was to the telling his age. I remember the early 90's quite well. By my inquiry, I was not trying to garner Mr. Hip's age but his thoughts on my question.

          You can feel free to answer it as well. When Bob Dole and company essentially proposed what is now known as Obamacare in the early 90's, did you support the bill then or did you oppose it as it appears you now do?

          • Hop'sHip

            So Aaron. You are telling us that the President who is painted here as most leftist ever, proposed a health insurance reform plan which was essentially the same offered previously by Nixon and Dole? And that its main purpose is to cater to the health insurance behemoths? Hmmm. I noticed that one of the provisions of the Republican alternative is to eliminate medical loss ratios that limit the percentage of premiums health insurers can use for non-healthcare purposes like marketing and executive compensation. And of course I believe it was the Republicans who gave them that gift that keeps on giving - Medicare Advantage. I'm not convinced that the industry thinks of Obama as their benefactor.

  • joey

    no middle of the road repeal, defund, or spend 2017 in Fairmont.

  • Leroy J Gibbs

    Hillary and Joe 2016

    • CaptainQ

      Nah! No way Hilliary would pick MoJo for her running mate. She can win West Virginia just by promising to reign in the EPA (of course, if she did, then she'd break that promise once she won the White House).

      Hilliary's smart enough to choose a VP who will help her win votes, not a basic 'nobody' like Joe Manchin.

    • Eric

      Leroy..you remind me of the reason this state is in dissarry. I guess Benghazi means NOTHING to you!

      • Sick&Tired

        I take it Iraq means nothing to you!!

      • leroy j gibbs

        just predicting the future. doesnt mean i will vote for them

    • WV Man

      And Capito in 2014.

  • The bookman

    Hoppy,

    I sense a bromance here, clouding your usual political clarity.

    Manchin has maintained a dominant political stature in WV because of his ability to reach across the aisle, and get votes. His Washington experience has been dominated by a softening of his political views, and a marked shift from his conservative strength to this middle of the road game of popularity and importance. With age and experience one would expect to see a refinement of his views, not confusion and gray area.

    I've supported Joe Manchin with my vote and opinion in every election he has been a candidate. He'll not receive it again until he earns it back by returning to the fundamentals of conservatism that won my support. We don't need another Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe. We need a solid conservative voice and vote in the Senate, and if he can't produce that, then we don't need Joe Manchin.

    • Hop'sHip

      Capito seems a lot like Collins and Snowe. Is it too late to get JR in the race? He seems to be a better match for your fundamental conservative values.

      • The bookman

        Have never voted for JR and have supported Capito only because she was the better option. Which means between JR and Manchin, I CHOSE Manchin.
        In a Capito v Tennant race, I'd have to stick with Capito, and that is as easy a choice as it was to pull the lever for Manchin.

        Peace pipe anyone?

        • Hop'sHip

          You had me smoking with the first one. I thought this site prevented duplicate comments but you were able to bypass that. Of course they still identify more recent comments as "older comments." Must be the original Obamacare folks.

          • The bookman

            The first one was moderated, made a few minor changes, and voila, it passed muster. Then shortly after they released the original from moderation, so I smoked the peace pipe twice, and drifted off.

      • The bookman

        Have never voted for Raese, and have supported Capito only because she was the better option. Which means between Raese and Manchin, I CHOSE Manchin.
        In a Capito v Tennant race, I'd have to stick with Capito, and that is as easy a choice as it was to pull the lever for Manchin.

        Peace pipe anyone?

  • Aaron

    The problem is Senator Reid will never allow any measure to
    come to the floor of the Senate. Besides taking marching orders from Obama, he knows that any legislation is subject to Republican amendments AND House action. This is nothing more than election year pandering so candidates can distance themselves from the President by claiming to their voters that they tried to fix his flawed bill.

    • David Kennedy

      Excellent observation.
      Smoke screens are only smoke screens.
      Churns out media time...