Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told West Virginia paper The Register Herald that he would vote to repeal Obamacare, making him the first Democratic Senator to do so:
He asked for all the listeners to let him and other lawmakers know their thoughts on the variety of topics, including the Affordable Care Act. “We spend more on health care than any state, but we rank 43rd on wellness and longevity.” Both parties agree on many aspects of the ACA, such as pre-existing conditions not being excluded from coverage and no lifetime caps, but there are still many kinks that need to be fixed, Manchin said. “I will vote tomorrow to repeal (the ACA), but I want to fix the problems in it.” He said the ACA is essentially a product and the government needs to find a way to “sell it” and make their customers want to buy it.
Sen. Manchin’s pivot increases the likelihood that after the midterms the Senate will have a majority for repeal.If the Obama Administration wants to understand how it is still losing ground on this issue even after the website has been largely fixed, it should look no further than this story in yesterday’s New York Times. The article highlights how public-sector employers have reduced their employees’ working hours in order to avoid the ACA’s employer mandate. These work-hour reductions remind us that America’s health care system has two big problems: access and affordability. The ACA is trying to open up access to the system without first fixing the cost problem. The natural and inevitable result is that the ACA imposes high costs on employers and others, who are responding rationally to these incentives.As public sector employers go, so too will private employers. Just how serious a development this is comes across clearly in the language the NYT itself uses:
The cuts to public sector employment, which has failed to rebound since the recession, could serve as a powerful political weapon for Republican critics of the health care law, who claim that it is creating a drain on the economy.
When the NYT says that a development “could bolster Republican arguments,” they mean, “Holy cow! This is a total disaster that can’t be spun.” And when Democratic Senators start coming out for repeal, it means the law’s future is well and truly in jeopardy.