Manchin hopes delay of Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalty picks up steam
10/25/2013 - The State Journal
WASHINGTON, DC - When U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has a good idea, he likes to talk about it.
Manchin appeared on FOX News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" Oct. 23 then hosted a media conference call Oct. 24 to talk about his plan to delay the health care individual mandate, which he created with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to allow for a year of transition.
"If we have the product right, trust me, people will buy it," Manchin said. "Nobody should be made to buy insurance that's not affordable."
Manchin said during his appearance on FOX News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," the difference between his plan and a plan in the works from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is that his plan has a certain deadline of Jan. 1, 2015, to delay any penalties for the individual mandate.
Manchin said the idea started when he heard there would be a delay in penalties for large employers that don't provide health insurance coverage in 2014.
"This is a much more gigantic undertaking," Manchin said about the individual mandate.
He said it's neither his nor Isakson's intent to kill the ACA bill, and he wants people to shop the marketplace and find affordable coverage.
"We don't think there should be any fines or penalties," Manchin said. "There should be a transition year."
Manchin said everyone should work through the problems that will pop up, and he has experience with that kind of situation.
As the newly elected governor of West Virginia in 2005, Manchin said a new computer system to handle Medicaid billing had severe glitches. Manchin said he gathered several people to fix the problem, which is what should be done to work through the launch of the ACA marketplace.
He said he should know by next week if his idea will pick up steam, but he expects seven or eight lawmakers from each party to support it, which he called "pretty strong in the Senate today."
"Having the threat of having a fine or a crime doesn't make any sense at all when you're trying to work out the bugs and the problems," he said. "It's a pretty common sense approach."