Yesterday, RealClearPolitics reported that “just five weeks away from a tougher Senate race than he expected against Republican John Raese,” West Virginia Governor Gov. Joe Manchin (D) was retreating from his support of the Affordable Care Act, and is now saying that he would join Republicans in repealing parts of the law. I asked the Manchin campaign about the Governor’s new position, pointing out that despite some reservations about Medicaid expansion, the Governor had said in March that he would have voted for reform and even argued that conservatives should allow the effort to succeed. The Manchin campaign sent me the following statement:
The Governor felt it was important to move the ball forward on healthcare reform and that something had to be done to help more working people obtain health insurance, so he said at the time that he would vote to do that. However, as more details have come out about what was included in the final version of the healthcare reform bill, there are several sections that he would now vote to repeal, including any provisions that allow for the funding of abortions and the provisions that are cumbersome to small businesses. He also believes people’s personal responsibility and healthcare choices should not be taken away by overreaching regulations. So knowing what he knows now, he would have fought for changes to the final version of the bill before voting and he would not have voted for it in its current form.
This obviously isn’t very specific (which abortion provisions are you referring to, governor?) and some of it, like the last part about individual responsibility, is downright nonsensical. But what we do know is that Manchin is more in the mold of Ben Nelson and less in the mold of his predecessor Robert Byrd.