Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) criticized the Obama administration on Tuesday for “royally” botching the healthcare rollout. [WATCH VIDEO]
Manchin is one among a group of red state Democrats who have been vocally critical of the administration's handling of the federal healthcare site.
The West Virginia Democrat doesn’t face reelection until 2016, but many of his colleagues running in 2014 — including Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — have sought to separate themselves from the rollout.
Still, Manchin said the spirit of the law was sound and urged his colleagues to rally around a fix.
“I sure don’t want to go back to what we had before,” he said. “One serious or catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy, a child with a defect couldn’t get on their parents's [insurance] – or someone with a preexisting condition couldn’t get insured, or someone who was too sick said their only option was to die, I guess.”
“That’s not who we are as Americans,” he said. “This thing is messed up – can we fix this? Absolutely, if we work together. But my goodness it seems like everyone is working against each other right now.”
Manchin is a co-sponsor of a Landrieu bill intended to keep President Obama’s promise that if you like your healthcare you can keep it.
The Landrieu-Manchin bill would require insurance companies to continue offering limited plans, even if they don’t meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act, for as long as consumers continue to pay the premiums.