WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The nation is keeping the pulse of West Virginia’s senate race, one that could swing the balance of power in D.C. We asked the candidates to diagnose the country’s health care needs.
“Obamacare is unconstitutional,” declared republican challenger Patrick Morrisey in our one-on-one interview.
As the West Virginia attorney general attacks the foundation of the Affordable Care Act in court, he hopes voters give him the chance to wage the same fight in the U.S Senate. Morrisey said sky-rocketing costs are symptoms of too much regulation and too little competition among insurers.
“You could say that some people may benefit from specific policies,” he said, “but overall, Obamacare is a colossal failure.”
Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions and financial assistance benefit hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. Morrisey argues those protections invalidate the whole law now that there’s no tax for those who don’t buy insurance.
But, he argues Congress can rewrite those protections to ensure everyone gets the health care they want. “I think though we can reach agreement very, very quickly to help those who need it most,” he said.
Sen. Joe Manchin takes aim at Morrisey’s position in a recent ad. “He is just dead wrong,” Manchin proclaims as he fires a gun at Morrisey’s lawsuit.
The incumbent democrat said the Affordable Care Act helps 80 percent of West Virginians, but 20 percent are financially stung by it. “They have a right to be mad,” he said of those hurt by the ACA.
But, Manchin argues the answer is fixing Obamacare’s flaws - like how financial assistance is paid for and calculated - not scrapping it. He’s disappointed that hasn’t happened yet. “When I say Washington sucks, it sucks because there’s fixes, but politics is preventing them to be fixed,” Manchin said.
Congress is not expected to take any action on health care before November’s elections.
To hear more from the candidates, check out the video links above. Other stories from our series examining the candidates’ positions on guns, working with the president, drug addiction, and the state’s energy future can be found in the related stories tab.