Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Brian Kilmeade to talk about where healthcare goes from here. The Senator said. "You don't have to start all over, but the normal order would be you have to put something in front of us and let's dissect it." He went on to say that "Everyone just wants to see if there is going to be a pathway moving forward because everything that has been tried has failed. We've had meetings; we had a meeting last night. There were four or five from each side. We have a total of 10 or 12 people that were split evenly between both Democrats and Republicans. I'm a West Va. Democrat, I'm sure not a Washington Democrat but I want to get things done. I came here to do something, and I'm ready to work with them."
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(Kilmeade) Joining us now Senator Joe Manchin. Senator Manchin, can you give us an idea what "Skinny Replace" means?
(Manchin) Not really. If anything can be passed that would put it into the conference committee. Thant means the republican bill that they passed doesn't have to be anything like the Democrat bill. But if you have two vehicles they can be made into one hybrid. That's kind of it in a nutshell. With that there are going to be consequences either way because things need to be fixed. We've had meetings; we had a meeting last night. There were four or five from each side. We have a total of 10 or 12 people. We try to make it equal 6 Ds and 6 R's. So we look at some successes around the country.
(Kilmeade) Can I ask you to back up for one second Senator? Who got together last night.
(Manchin) Well, just a group.
(Kilmeade) You mean informally. You mean Republicans and Democrats got together informally.
(Manchin) No, No that's all very informally. Everyone just wants to see if there is going to be a pathway moving forward, Because everything that has been tried has failed. These are Republicans that are voting against the total repeal process. We've already had two votes already and will probably have another vote today of some sort. But incase this all falls apart, and there is no vehicle at all then how do we really fix it, cause we really want to fix it? There are moderate Democrats, conservative Democrats like myself and moderate Republicans that are looking, forget about the name of Trump-Care or Obama-Care healthcare as we know it...So I'll give you some examples of what we are talking about. First of all, you have to stabilize the market. The cost sharing revenues that come in. Everybody has said even Republicans have said that even if you totally repeal it, they wouldn't change anything for two years. You've heard that correct.
(Kilmeade) Terrible, terrible idea
(Manchin) I gotcha ya but you've heard of it. So if two years is what they are talking about or if the majority of them go for a two-year freeze then at least tell the markets that the costs of the CSR's will be stabilized for two years that they won't threaten to pull them out. That way you will be able to save about 15 to 20% on market increases on premiums that will start in 2018 cause starting in August all the insurance companies will be putting their insurance rates out.
Kilmeade) Right, Senator can I just slow down too? If you had a Democratic house and a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President you would still have to address Obama-Care
(Kilmeade) Ok gotcha
(Manchin) Now here is the thing they are re-insuring, let's say the state if Alaska or the state of West Virginia could reinsure our highly chronic illnesses, people with preexisting conditions that are making it very difficult for the markets to find a pathway forward for lower premiums because these people are severely ill or critically ill and are taken off a lot of the resources that it takes and that's what's distorting it. Then you look over at Indiana. Indiana had what we called a managed expansion; it was a hybrid. Mitch Daniels was working on it before he left and Seema Verna who is now with CDC. I think there is a program there. The far left isn't going to go for it, but there's enough of us I think we can help get that one through. Then you look at MSA, Medical Savings Accounts that makes sense to me. You look at cross state buying, people say that it's not going to make a difference, but it doesn't hurt if that's another tool in the box. So we're willing to find ways of repairing healthcare so we can move forward.
(Kilmeade) Senator that's a great point. Tout reform too, I guess the legal lobby is tough but Texas shows it can be very effective because people want to hit lotto and sue, and then the doctors say they need a lot of insurance because I don't want to destroy my family and my practice so that goes up and that means prices go up so it Texas it seems to show some significance.
(Manchin) In West Virginia way back when we did mal reform because doctors were walking off. So we did mend mal reform back then, and it did work. So everything should be on the table.
(Kilmeade) Of course, everything needs to go through normal order. You don't have to start all over again, would you?
(Manchin) No, No you don't have to start all over, but the normal order would be you have to put something in front of us and let's dissect it. Because then you can bring professionals in. Here's the thing. Affordable Care Act, Obama-Care whatever it's being called has been out there for a few years. By now we should see all the ugly parts of it we know what's not working, we know what needs to be fixed we know what was basically wrong from the beginning, but they pushed something through, which I thought was wrong in 2010 I wasn't here. You don't do these major pieces of legislation, major policies for the entire nation with just one party or the other. Democrats made a big mistake, and I think my friends on the Republican side will make an even bigger mistake by pushing something through without those of us who want to work with them. So we are looking at that. We're also talking to house members Republicans and Democrats, moderates who want to find a pathway forward to fix it. Here's the thing that happens you get everybody ginned up saying were going to repeal, repeal, repeal we've always said repeal. Well, that's fine. If you could have done that in 2010, 2011 before it got started get it off the books and started with something new or different maybe that would have been a whole different story. We've had something else intertwined with 1/6th of our economy, so there is an awful lot at stake right now. With that being said just repair it just fix it. If you have enough people that just want to fix it go forward with that. This mentality just doesn't make sense with me. When I was Governor, we put people together. I said here is the West Va. problem. It wasn't a Democratic or Republican problem, we've got people hurting let's fix it, or here's what we're doing wasting money, or here's what we're doing with that.
(Kilmeade) I know so many people would say. I remember then Governor Bush, George Bush says I got my reputation working with Democrats and he started working with Ted Kennedy, and by the end of it, it all fell apart. Having said that I really listened to what John McCain said. He said what you've been saying all along. Stop trying to win and start trying to do what's most effective. But Senator do you realize, and I'm sure Republicans realize it too. Democrats have already gotten a lot.
(Manchin) I think there's still some tax repeal, the tax they have on medical equipment.
(Kilmeade) Well how about the 3.8 percent
(Manchin) I don't think that one is going to go away. And the reason why that one is linked to the cuts that would have to come directly into Medicaid. Democrats have to understand that we have to control cost and expansion. You control cost and expansion by making people healthier and show them how to use it in a more responsible way and hold them accountable for their actions. You don't just take it away, or you don't just let them use is Carte Blanche or any way they want to.
(Kilmeade) I guess what I'm trying to say is that 3.8% that the Democrats want to stay stays. There are so many things that drive people like Rand Paul crazy and maybe Jim Jordan crazy because you said you want a clean repeal and replace. We know that's not possible. So in a way Democrats can say look what we kept and to a degree, we have somewhat of a victory.
(Manchin) Well, I'm not declaring victory at all because the thing is not fixed. This is not a game of who won and who lost. First of all, when you have Rand Paul and Jim, I respect that, they stay true to their convictions. They forced a vote it didn't pass on this side here, Rand understands the process, but he gave it a yeoman's try which he always does. He got in there and fought for what he believed in. The vote went up, he had nine members of his own party vote against him, and then we move on. You don't just derail the whole train when one care goes off the track.
(Kilmeade) Senator, I want you to hear what most Republicans worry about and that's what Dick Durbin said yesterday
(Dick Durbin Audio) This is a last gasp. What we're going through now is the last gasp for private health insurance in America, as far as I'm concerned. If we can't make this work with the private health insurance industry, we start moving closer to a Medicare model // That's what people are looking for in health insurance. And if the private health insurance industry can't make the current approach work, we're moving closer and closer to a single-payer option.
(Kilmeade) Your thoughts.
(Manchin) We're not ready for a single payer option. We're ready for the debate. Do you want to sit down and debate and dissect it, take a look at every country that has it. Look at how they control costs through access. If anyone believes that you are going to have the system we have today where we have the best of the best, and you can go anywhere you want you can do this, this and this and find the best if you think this is going to be an open access to you, if we go into single payer I'm not seeing that happen anywhere in the world. So you have to be honest and open and have a dialogue. You can't just migrate right to that and I think we'll probably have a vote on that today and I would vote against us moving prematurely to something we haven't even studied.
(Kilmeade) Right now Chuck Schumer said we are not offering any amendments of what the Republicans are offering for whatever reason. Is that correct?
(Manchin) I think what was said and makes sense to me too. Mitch put something forward. If you have a "Skinny Bill" whatever you have. We can't make amendments to bills that have already been killed, and that's what we are doing. That makes no sense at all because you have no vehicle. If you want something putforward. Let us see the bill and then put amendments on that bill. And there is no use continuing to go through this façade that we're going to have amendments and try and do something when you have nothing to work with.
(Kilmeade) We only have a minute left, but I have a quick question for you procedurally. I understand that the Republicans only have 10 hours left. Can you tell our listeners what that means?
(Manchin) There are rules that say when you're on a piece of legislation when you're on any type of thing the majority, and the minority get X amount of time, so they slit 20 hours that's ten apiece. Certain people waive that. I would assume the Democrats are going to waive that since Chuck Schumer has said what he has said. There's no amendment so why do we need 10 hours to do this, this and this? If you have something bring it forward. So the 10 hours I would assume on Mitch's side, on the Republican side put what you are going to put forward bring it forth and let's debate it lets talk about it lets have amendments on that if you have something and we'll go from there. If not let's move on and have a vote up or down and let's get something that works. If that doesn't work eventually, they're going to have to turn to those of us in the middle that want to work something out, and we have some solutions because there are some success stories out there that will work better than anything else.
(Kilmeade) 74% of the country say if the Republican try fails they want you to work together, and I think we might be looking at that by the end of the week.
(Manchin) I wish they would have spoken louder and clearer before because we've been ready to work together. I have the greatest respect for all of my Republican friends and colleagues. They are my friends. I'm a West Va. Democrat, I'm sure not a Washington Democrat but I want to get things done. I came here to do something, and I'm ready to work with them.
(Kilmeade) Senator thank you for joining us and thank you for your loyalty to the show.