Manchin: If healthcare reform can’t be fixed, ‘repeal the whole thing’

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who is in a tough fight for a Senate seat, said Monday he’d support repealing the healthcare reform law if it can’t be fixed.

Manchin, who’s been falling behind in his race against Republican John Raese, said he supports repealing part of the bill but would support repealing all of it if a partial repeal doesn’t fix its problems.

“The president’s plan — ‘Obamacare,’ as it’s been called — is far too reaching. It’s overreaching. It needs to have a lot of it repealed,” Manchin said Monday on Fox News. “If you can’t fix that, repeal the whole thing.”

The harsh take on President Obama’s signature legislative achievement this Congress is just the latest effort by Manchin to distance himself from establishment Democrats. Last week, the governor of coal-heavy West Virginia said Obama was “dead wrong” on climate policy and for supporting cap-and-trade legislation. 

Raese’s campaign charges Manchin with sending mixed messages on healthcare. 

The GOP candidate’s campaign flagged an appearance Manchin made during the weekend on Fox News in which Manchin said he “supported health reform” and that he still does — at least in concept.

Manchin said he supports healthcare reform as a matter of concept and called on both parties to rally around reforms on which they agree.

“I still and have always been in support of health reform,” he said. “If you can fix it — Democrats and Republicans agree on six or seven items — that’s a pretty good darn start.”

Other Democrats have also distanced themselves from the healthcare law or have advocated changes. 

Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee for the Senate in Illinois who’s vowed to form a progressive caucus in the Senate, has called for some reforms to the legislation.

“I am running on jobs, and I’m running on helping small businesses,” said Giannoulias on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

“And look, the healthcare bill was far from a perfect vehicle,” Giannoulias added, before outlining some of the reforms in the bill that he welcomed.

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