West Virginia Senate candidate Joe Manchin said Sunday that, knowing what he knows now, he would not have backed the federal health care overhaul -- reversing earlier comments in support of the legislation.
Manchin, the Democratic governor locked in a tight contest for Senate against Republican John Raese, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the legislation went far beyond provisions both parties agreed on. He said that while he favors restrictions that would keep insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, he does not agree with the coverage mandates and other elements in the final product.
"The bottom line is that the incentives should be created ... basically so people can afford health care. You're not going to mandate and dictate to them," Manchin said. "Reaching as far as they did in the weeds of the bill that we didn't know about, no one else knew about until it came out -- knowing that, I would not have supported that or voted for that at that time."
Manchin said in March 2009 that he was in favor of the health care package and that he would vote for it if he were in Congress.
Manchin explained Sunday that he no longer feels that way and would have voted against it.
"I think many people didn't know about the bill. It ends up, what, 2,000 pages or more," he said. "Now, the concept was great as far as pre-existing conditions. ... There's a lot of good parts to it. Why won't we fix what's wrong with it and make it better?"