MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday that if he is elected to the senate, he would first try to fix the health care law rather than advocate its complete repeal.
Manchin is in an unexpectedly tough fight to fill the remaining two years of the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s senate term and has moved to distance himself from President Obama and the Democratic leadership.
“I think we can look at the things that aren’t working and can’t work and that run against the grain of who we are and repeal that,” Manchin told The Examiner. “I’d still try to fix the bad things and try to compromise on the things Republicans and Democrats can agree upon.”
Manchin said he would move to get rid of the health insurance mandate that will require everyone to either purchase a health insurance policy or pay a fine. He would also eliminate a requirement that companies report to the IRS any purchases costing more than $600, which many Republicans and Democrat have agreed would be burdensome for business.
Manchin said he would work to lessen “the encroachment and the oversight of individual freedom and choices,” that he believes is part of the health care law, but he supports reforming health care in some way.
Manchin said if Congress is unable to make changes to the current health care law, “I’d be the first to say let’s repeal it.”
Manchin is statistically tied with opponent John Raese, a Morgantown businessman who has tried to portray Manchin in campaign ads as someone who backs the health care law and other Obama administration initiatives.
“If you spend enough money on a fear and smear campaign, I guess you can make people pretty scared,” Manchin said.