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Repeal and replace, fix and repair: Manchin, Capito set for Obamacare fight

West Virginia’s U.S. Senators look at the future of Obamacare differently.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was the only Democratic senator not to sit in on a meeting with President Barack Obama Wednesday on Capitol Hill where the discussion focused on how to keep Obamacare in place.

Manchin said that meeting and one Vice President-elect Mike Pence held with Senate Republicans on repealing Obamacare were more of the partisan politics that West Virginians and other Americans have rejected.

“If you haven’t learned anything—people spoke out loud and clear they don’t like this kind of operation,” Manchin said Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “I said I’m not going to attend. I think they are both wrong.”

Manchin said he’s not going to vote to repeal Obamacare until he sees a replacement.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito voted more than 40 times while a member of the U.S. House to repeal Obamacare and plans to do it again. She tried to calm fears during an appearance on “Talkline” Wednesday from those who are concerned that 177,000 state residents covered through the Medicaid expansion option would all of the sudden lose their coverage.

“You will not be kicked off of your coverage,” Capito said. “There’s going to be a time when we’re going to figure out the best way to get better coverage for those people. Whether it’s called Medicaid or an expanded Medicaid, I think those details will be worked out later.”

Manchin said it’s the “worked out later” part that he’s concerned with.

“I’m not betting on the Congress. I’ve been here six years and they haven’t fixed anything. I’m in the fix and repair category,” Manchin said.

After the vote to repeal, there would be a two to three year transition period, according to Capito.

“Keeping those 177,000 on a Medicaid-like program that the state can then formulate. Give the state some more abilities to figure out the best way to meet the challenges in their own state,” she said.

Manchin was hopeful he could get a meeting arranged with moderate Democrats in the Senate and Pence before he left Capitol Hill Wednesday. He told “Talkline” Host Hoppy Kercheval he wasn’t concerned about being the only Democrat to miss the meeting with President Obama.

“I couldn’t care less,” Manchin said.

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