WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says the “death by a thousand cuts” for the Affordable Care Act is continuing as a result of the much-talked-about ruling from a federal judge that declared the act unconstitutional.
Manchin said Senate Republicans have had the majority but haven’t had the votes to repeal ACA, also known as Obamacare, so they’ve spent their time dismantling it piece by piece.
“They (Republicans against ACA) try everything. They couldn’t even get 51 votes to repeal it after they promised for eight years. They’ve never put anything on the table that makes any sense at all,” Manchin said Monday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
The ruling, made by Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, was on a lawsuit backed by 20 state attorneys general, including West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey. The plaintiffs argued “Obamacare” is unconstitutional in light of the repeal of the individual mandate in last year’s tax overhaul legislation.
Morrisey, also a guest on “Talkline” Monday, said he agrees with the judge’s ruling and anticipates additional rulings.
“I think this is one part of what’s going to be a multi-part decision. Remember there was no injunction that was issued,” Morrisey said. “What this does is that it cues up the right debate.”
Morrisey said the debate needs to focus how to deal with health care without putting residents under the heavy burdens of outrageous premiums.
“The premiums are bankrupting people,” Morrisey said.
Manchin said again Monday Morrisey should remove West Virginia from the legal challenge.
“Remove his name and West Virginians and the whole state of West Virginia as a part of this,” Manchin said.
Morrisey said there are no imminent changes expected.
“It’s clear from the ruling that the law is going to stay in effect for the immediate future. We don’t think it will impact coverage in 2019. This is going to be appealed to the 5th Circuit and likely the Supreme Court,” Morrisey said.
Morrisey said no one wants to get rid of coverage for pre-existing conditions. He says the states and Congress will still have the ability to act.
“We should discuss how we have high-quality health care but policies that are consistent with the Constitution,” he said.
First District Congressman David McKinley said Congress needs to react between now and the time the final ruling on Obamacare.
“It’s going to take some time to get to the Supreme Court and in the meantime the House and Senate develop some type of response. Something like a ‘Plan B’ if it does get thrown out,” McKinley said Monday on “Talkline.”
Manchin signed off months ago on a ‘fix’ for the Affordable Care Act. It’s a bill that remains on the desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
“We know what works and we’ve written bills that fix it and Mitch McConnell will not let it to come to the floor to vote on it,” Manchin said.
Until that happens, according to Manchin things like, Medicaid expansion, premiums for those on the health care exchange, will continue to be very expensive.
“You give me a poor person that goes to the emergency room every time they’re sick I guarantee it’s very costly,” Manchin said. “We don’t teach them how to take care of themselves. How to maintain themselves and how to get healthier but we pay that bill,” Manchin said.