Daniel Doherty

Would he? Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is dancing a fine line here; he expressly said, in an interview with a local West Virginia newspaper, that he “will” vote “tomorrow” to repeal the ACA. But at the same time, he also claimed he wants to “fix” the law, too.

So which is it?

From the Register-Herald (via The Corner):

He asked for all the listeners to let him and other lawmakers know their thoughts on the variety of topics, including the Affordable Care Act.

“We spend more on health care than any state, but we rank 43rd on wellness and longevity.”

Both parties agree on many aspects of the ACA, such as pre-existing conditions not being excluded from coverage and no lifetime caps, but there are still many kinks that need to be fixed, Manchin said.

“I will vote tomorrow to repeal (the ACA), but I want to fix the problems in it.”

To my knowledge, no Senate Democrat has hinted before -- or since -- that he or she would support repealing the president’s signature legislative achievement. Sen. Manchin is the first, it seems. But surprisingly, he isn’t in danger of losing his seat anytime soon. He won re-election handily in 2012, thus he has plenty of time -- unlike other vulnerable red state Senate Democrats -- to distance himself from Obamacare, if he so chooses. (Ed Morrissey suspects Manchin maybe misspoke here, given his have-it-both-ways and contradictory response, or perhaps the reporter misinterpreted what he said. Either way, the exchange wasn’t captured on video, so it’s hard to tell).

Still, he’s already gone on the record musing about delaying the whole package. So why not just go all in and support repealing the law in its entirety? As he himself said last November, Obamacare is “more than a rollout problem, it’s a product problem.” And if the product can't be fixed, that might be his best option if he wants to keep his job.

UPDATE: Scratch that. He does not support repealing the ACA.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography