Manchin clarifies that he is 'skeptical' of single-payer system

Manchin clarifies that he is 'skeptical' of single-payer system
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDems mull big changes after Brazile bombshell A bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday clarified that he is "skeptical" of a single-payer health-care system, saying that he simply supports digging into the complex details of the idea to see if it has potential.

"I am skeptical that single-payer is the right solution, but I believe that the Senate should carefully consider all of the options through regular order so that we can fully understand the impacts of these ideas on both our people and our economy," Manchin said in a statement Tuesday.

The conservative Democrat, up for reelection in 2018, said his priority is finding a system that best addresses health-care issues affecting West Virginia, a state that is reeling from the opioid epidemic. 

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“In the next several weeks, my focus will be passing bipartisan legislation that stabilizes the market, prevents rates from going up, and ensures access to health care for West Virginians. Once we address the short-term stability of the market, we should look at all ideas to fix the long-term problems facing our health care system," he continued.

Earlier in the day, Manchin had also expressed uncertainty about a single-payer system, but with less intense rhetoric.

"Let it go through the committee, let it go through the process. I don't just know enough about it. I'm not signing on to a piece of legislation that I don't have any idea what it's going to do to the economy, to the access and to people's care," he told The Hill.

"I don't just know enough about it. So I'm all for exploring and looking and seeing. I'm not signing on to a piece of legislation that I don't have any idea what it's going to do to the economy, to the access and to people's care."

His remarks come a day before Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWorld leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report Sanders on Brazile revelations: DNC needs ‘far more transparency’ Sen. Warren sold out the DNC MORE (I-Vt.) is set to release his "Medicare for all" bill, which already has the support of several prominent Democrats, including those potentially mulling a 2020 presidential bid.

Manchin serves in a state that President Trump won by 42 points in last year's presidential election. The landslide win has made Manchin a top GOP target in 2018.