Democratic senator would support one-year delay of individual mandate

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday that he would join Republicans in supporting a one-year delay of the individual mandate in the health-care law.

“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast Thursday. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”

Manchin said such a move made sense in light of the fact that administration had already delayed the implementation of the individual mandate for businesses.

“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?”

Lawmakers are currently working to pass a bill to fund the government past October 1. The version passed by the Republican-controlled House would do so while defunding Obamacare, a provision the Democrat-controlled Senate plans to take out before sending the bill back to the House. At that point, House leadership may amend the bill again so that it delays the individual mandate for one year.

In a statement, Manchin suggested he would not support that bill, which would likely meet stiff resistance from other Senate Democrats.

“I have always opposed the individual mandate, and I continue to have concerns with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost and choices West Virginians will have in the health care exchanges. That being said, I do not believe that this issue should be used to shut down the government, and I will not vote to shut down the government. We need to work together as Americans to solve these problems so we can get our economy back on track and create American jobs,” Manchin said.

*This post has been updated with Manchin’s remarks suggesting he would not vote for a government funding bill that included the delay.

Follow Alexis on Twitter