Democratic Senator Says He'd Vote to Delay Obamacare's Individual Mandate


credit: studio08denver / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Critics of Obamacare are quite excited by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's statement today that not only does he oppose the health law's individual mandate, he would vote to delay it.

Republicans have targeted the unpopular individual mandate as their best hope of getting Democrats to agree to a delay. 

Via Bloomberg News:

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with fellow Democrats and said he'd support a stopgap spending plan that delays the individual mandate in President Barack Obama's health-care law.

"There's no way I could not vote for it," Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. "It's very reasonable and sensible."

…Manchin, 66, said he'd be willing to delay the individual mandate as part of the budget negotiations because the Obama administration in July gave businesses an extra year to provide their workers with health insurance.

"Don't put the mandate on the American public right now," Manchin said. "Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn't bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don't you think it'd be fair?"

It's newsworthy that Manchin specifically said he'd vote to delay the provision, and that he said it in the midst of a showdown over the budget and the health law. But critics of Obamacare should keep their hopes in check.

Manchin's statement of opposition to the mandate doesn't change much, because it's not really new. He has long been wary of the mandate; Politico listed him as a potential threat to the provision all the way back in 2011. And in general, he's been more critical of the health law than most Democrats. "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 It needs to have a lot of it repealed. If you can't fix that, repeal the whole thing," he said in 2010 while running for Senate. 

Meanwhile, Manchin is only one Democratic vote in the Senate. To pass an individual mandate delay, upper chamber Republicans would need the support of at least five Democrats. 

That's always been the barrier. Getting a delay of the mandate through the Senate is going to be tough as long as it's controlled by Democrats. It could become easier if the administration continues to delay parts of the implementation process. But Manchin's statement, on its own, isn't much of a game changer. 

NEXT: Obama: GOP Trying To "Blackmail a President" Over Obamacare

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  1. It sounds like Sen. Joe Manchin wants to keep his job.

    1. Yeah, although he did run a pretty middle of the road campaign and was elected in 2010 AFTER ACA was passed.

  2. This just in: Politician continues to pay lip service to election promices during first term in office. More at 11.

  3. Under Obamacare, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services at no cost to you. And you know what that means: get all your well visits in now, before a Republican comes along and somehow repeals the law.

    1. Why would I go to the doctor if I’m not sick?

      1. I wouldn’t. But I googled “Obamacare is awesome” and this was one of the reasons listed. The article was blisteringly stupid though.

        1. That is a stupid reason too. Preventative services and checkups are the medical things that people can plan for and save up for. I though the reason we needed universal coverage is that people can’t plan for major medical emergencies. People can certainly plan for preventative care.

          1. It’s mostly nonsense anyway. Preventive services don’t work as well to lower costs or improve health as people wish they would.

            I worked for a health care organization that was going to “bend the cost curve,” as Obama might say, by focusing on preventive services. They even hired nurses to proactively call patients and manage their care. Didn’t work. Turns out that most people are already pretty good at managing their own care, and the ones who aren’t won’t change just because somebody tries to convince them to. After a couple of years it was clear that the thing was just a big money sink and they got rid of it.

    2. At no cost to you except for the 100% increase in your premium.

  4. a Bloomberg Government breakfast

    I don’t know what that is, but it sounds disgusting.

    1. No salt, transfats, large sodas or liberty.

    2. ha. i’ve been to those. and yes.

  5. The problem with Obamacare is that the average American person is just a big meanie who wants Obama to fail.


    From the article: “For some patients, the wait to see a doctor will be interminable. We know now that some health insurers have kept premiums down for Obamacare subscribers by creating new healthcare networks that will have fewer hospitals, clinics, doctors and other caregivers than their traditional plans offer. This isn’t inherently bad, but it seems certain to generate anecdotal headlines about this or that forlorn patient who waited so long for a biopsy or stent that she died before care could be delivered. That will provide plenty of ammunition for Obamacare critics eager to declare, “See! I told you so! It’s socialism!”

    I can’t fucking believe the lengths the media will go to defend and promote Fearless Leader, and his nitwit policies. Sickening.

    1. So… a few people dying is expected? Was that included in the original sales pitch?

      1. Of course, “you’ll get to keep your insurance if you like it” refers to your car insurance, not health insurance.

    2. Pre-excusing the failure.

    3. Huge numbers of middle class voters are going to be asked to take it up the ass for the good of the collective. I don’t think they are going to take it well. They are going to be pissed off and there is going to be a political shit storm the likes of which we have never seen.

      When that happens, the Progs will tell themselves Obamacare failed because they American public was too selfish to make it work. You thought progs hated the public before, wait until this happens. The mask will totally drop and they will be openly advocating the need to cut off care and take draconian measures against the majority of Americans.

      1. They will advise obese diabetics to eat less candy.

    4. I also like that the stories of how terrible the system was before PPACA could not be dismissed as anecdotal headlines. Those were real stories applicable to all of the 15 30 100 million people without health insurance!

      1. The Progs believed all of those anecdotes and convinced themselves that under the pre-Obamacare system no one was happy with their insurance. The reality was that the a large majority of people were happy with their health insurance and care. More importantly a very large majority of the middle and upper middle class were happy with their care. They said they didn’t like the system because the progs convinced them that there could be a new system that helped the poor and uninsured without changing what they had. Remember the whole “if you like your plan you can keep it” bullshit? Obama pulled that out of his ass because if people had known that insuring the poor was going to come out of their own hide, they would have probably burned the Capitol down.

        The progs are going to get a huge shock. They think once this kicks in that they can keep it or better yet get single payer by playing the “we can’t go back now and kick all of these poor people off their new insurance”. Those kind of appeals only work if people think someone else is paying for it. Once this hits, no one is going to care about the poor anymore. They are going to want their health insurance costs fixed.

        1. Of course the poor were already covered by Medicaid, so it was never really about insuring the poor anyway.

          1. And hospitals are required by law to treat them and they can always walk away from the bills via bankruptcy. So, yeah, the poor were not the concern.

            1. The funny thing is, the hospital spending that is “wasted” is generally spent providing very expensive care to patients who are goners and should be in hospice.

              Its weird, but the more money and education you have, the more likely you are to not insist on futile care. The worst abusers are the poor. Its part of the entitlement mentality that they bring to the hospital.

              1. There is certainly some of that. The problem is that there is a limit to how far you can go with that. It is true most of your medical costs are in your last six months of life. But that doesn’t mean what people think it does; that we could save all of this money by putting people in the hospice.

                We only know after the fact that it is the last six months of life. Yes there are “million dollars in last six months of life” patients. But there are also “million dollars and back to a healthy patient” patients too. We don’t know which one any particular patient is until we treat them.

                I understand the need not to engage in futile treatments. But I am very hesitant to start enacting government policies aimed at reducing end of life care. I think those policies will quickly become “deny treating of the gravely ill” and “deny treatment to old people because they are going to die anyway” policies.

              2. RC

                Speaking of the entitlement mentality of the poor, I don’t think Obamacare is going to be popular among the poor either. The reason is that Obamacare only gives you subisides for insurance. It doesn’t give you free insurance. I think most poor people think Obamacare means free insurance. When they find out it means “discounted insurance you have to buy to avoid paying a fine” they are going to be pissed. I don’t care how big the subsidy is or how great of a deal they will get compared to the rest of us, they are going to hate it. The poor don’t think like the middle class. They won’t be happy with getting a good deal buying something they didn’t have before. They have other things they want to spend their money on. They will want the insurance for free or not at all. And once they do have it, they will use the living shit out of it until they drive their insurers broke.

                1. Wake me up when the first uninsured poor person is fined. That will never happen.

        2. The progs are going to get a huge shock.

          John’s optimism continues to both confuse and amaze me.

          Here’s what will really happen. Obamacare will fuck the economy up bad. There will all manner of “unintended consequences” that fuck over all manner of people. And progs will point the finger at republicans and libertarians. And, unfortunately, far too many D voters will swallow the pill and keep up the talking points.

          Obamacare will totally fuck the economy, and not a damn thing will change.

    5. In the Eastern Block, journalist had to write fawning love letters of adoration to the Fearless Leader, what is their excuse?

    6. it seems certain to generate anecdotal headlines about this or that forlorn patient who waited so long for a biopsy or stent that she died before care could be delivered.

      Remember how dismissive the DemOp media was of the sob stories trotted out to get OCare passed?

      Yeah, me neither. Even when it turned out the sob stories were pretty much fabricated.

  6. And if the GOP weren’t a bunch of idiots thowing away 4-5 senate seats in the last two cycles for saying stupid shit, then manchin’s one vote would actually matter and then we’d really see if he means it or not.

    1. But see, in the heat of the moment, when some candidates’ juices get flowing, their brains just aren’t going to connect with their mouths. It just isn’t going to happen.

      1. Well, that and when Democrats make brain-dead comments, the press corps doesn’t notice. When Claire McCaskill claimed that the Bush administration was rigging oil prices to help GOP candidates, it was a virtual non-story. If you were to interrogate the press corps on why they didn’t bother spilling much ink regarding the now-Missouri Senator’s paranoia and childlike economic understanding, they probably wouldn’t understand the concern. BOOOSH is bad, so conspiracy theories about him are acceptable. Obama is Jesus, so questioning his motives is off the table, you filthy racist.

        1. This. Note all the candidates hardly anyone ever heard of before making national headlines at that time. It was SOP for the MSM in the Summer ’12 when Obama was blowing it out of his ass with stupid shit like, ‘you didn’t build that!’.

    2. I don’t think so. If someone like Mike Castle were in the Senate, he would be concern trolling and telling the media how great Obamacare is and cutting off people like Cruz and Paul at the knees.

      I would rather have Menchin in there selling out the Dems as he fears for his political life than someone like Castle selling out the Rs.

      1. I’m not talking about him. I can understand the theory behind wanting to punish him even if it makes it a D seat.

        I’m talking about MO, IN, NV, and maybe ND and MT thrown in the mix. If you want to go way back thrown in george allen as well, who could have been the vote to stop obamacare.

        The GOP’s wounds have been mostly self inflicted.

        1. That is the result of the shitbag establishment not coming up with any sort of candidate that would actually represent their base. In Nevada at least, Sharon Angle won the nomination because the was the only Republican who didn’t spend her time telling the GOP base to go fuck themselves.

          Akin got the nomination because the other GOP were too pig headed to drop out and thus split the vote so much allowing a marginal candidate to be competitive and because Claire Mcaskil launched a huge media blitz for him.,

          Beyone that, whatever Akin and Angle’s issues, they were still better choices than the Dems they ran against. The American people get the government they deserve. If they want to re-elect a complete crook like Mccaskill or Reid because of some stupid off hand comment made by their opponent about an issue that has nothing to do with the race, then they kind of deserve what they get.

          At some point maybe they will smarten up and stop voting on the culture war.

          1. None of this neglects my point about the GOP being dumbasses.

            1. It is dumbasses all around.

          2. I’m in the GOP are dumbasses camp, myself, but not because there were Tea Party candidates on the ballot in some states, but because the GOP establishment hates the Tea Party so much that they worked against those candidates.

            They hate the Tea Party so much they would rather have a Dem than a TPer win an election.

            1. Clicked too soon.

              And this hatred is unabated. After all, the GOPpers were leaking oppo research on Cruz just before his filibuster.

            2. The GOP establishment wants to go along and get along and get in on the gravy train. The last thing they want is someone screwing that up.

  7. I love it. Manchin got re-elected and immediately flipped on gun rights. The New Republic I think ran a big feature article on how if Manchin has changed millions of others are going to become gun grabbers too. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. All Manchin doing that has done is totally torpedo Democratic chances at winning the other West Virginia seat in 2014. Thanks to Manchin, no one will ever believe a West Virginia Democrat’s assurances they are really pro gun again.

  8. Guess that makes Joe a right-wing anarchist nut-job. I predict that he will switch parties when he comes up again. Obama’s War On Coal can’t be good for WV.

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