Sen. Manchin on 'repairing' ObamaCare

West Virginia lawmaker speaks out


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 9, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, they're confusing, but new ObamaCare numbers are out. We're digging into them.

Less than four million people have actually net enrolled in ObamaCare, according to the numbers-crunchers over at RAND. Now, that does not include the final rush at the end of the March, but the numbers don't exactly jibe with the 7.1 million the Obama administration is touting.

Still, they do point to 9.4 million signees. The devil is in deciding how many are new.

It's confusing, but here to help try to clarify things, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Senator, always good to have you.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.VA.: Neil, always good to be with you.

CAVUTO: What do you think the real numbers are, Senator? Because the RAND survey makes you think, well, the administration might have been conservative on these numbers. Republicans say it confirms the fact that very far fewer net new enrollees, paying enrollees, all of that.

What do you say?

MANCHIN: Neil, the devil is going to be in the details, as you just said.

And it's going to be the product and the mix we have in that product. If it turns up that we have got a lot of people signed up and a lot of people have taken advantage of the Medicaid extensions and the subsidies that were put out there, but fewer people were attracted to come into it, because it didn't have the right product out for them, that's why we have had a lot of moderate conservative Democrats basically are saying there's more things that we can do.

We're only going to have so much money, and this thing is either going to succeed or fail based on how much we're able to provide. And the bottom line is, you better have a copper plan to get more younger people in with larger deductibles. Have some flexibility and maneuverability. Go across state lines.

CAVUTO: Well, they don't have that now.

MANCHIN: No, they don't.

CAVUTO: But they don't have that now, Senator.

I know you have tried to address that. It is a concern. It is a concern of a lot of Democrats, particularly those up for reelection this year.


CAVUTO: They have been pointing to the fact that right now the percentage of young people involved here, about 24 percent, 25 percent, you need close to 40 percent to make it worthwhile.


CAVUTO: What do you do to address that?

MANCHIN: Well, I think you are going to have to have a product.

You just can't tell people they have got to do it and I'm going to fine you and penalize you if you don't. I have never been for that approach. I have been saying, fine. I'm a market person. Give me something that I want to buy and I will buy. Give me a good value and a good -- and good service and I will take it.

And we have got to instill that into people. We have got to put products out there that attract them. They might not think they need it at 25, 26, 27 years of age. When they're 40, 45 or 50 -- so give them a incentive, an wellness incentive. There's so many things that the market is allowed to do, what it does best, Neil. We will find the products. We really will.

CAVUTO: So -- but you're not in the camp that goes far, Senator, to say, junk, kill the thing, start from scratch. You think this thing has got to be fixed on the fly.

Because I have talked to many in and outside business, the medical community, saying, you can't, you can't do that.

MANCHIN: Neil, I have been here three-and-a-half years, and I voted I don't know how many times. I wasn't here when the bill was voted on going on. I wish I would have been. Maybe I could have had more input.

CAVUTO: Would you have voted on yea or nay?


MANCHIN: Well, on the bill that came up, it's not a good bill. The bill that basically we have to work off of, the things we agree on, why couldn't we have just taken and bit the apple on what Democrats and Republicans agreed on and found ways to move forward?

If you start back from zero today and repeal the whole thing, we have such a toxic climate here, Neil, I don't know if you get anything agreed upon. So, I would rather repair.


CAVUTO: Well, the president blames Republicans; the president blames Republicans for a lot of that, naysayers, particularly Republican governors in states who have fought them on the exchanges, if not for they, that -- that -- that he would be in a lot better shape, this law would be in a lot better shape. You agree?

MANCHIN: Well, there's been a lot of Republican governors basically that have signed on to it. And they're willing to work.

I'm finding a lot of my colleagues on both sides saying, let's sit down and what we come to agreement and work on something and move forward in a positive manner.

Neil, we're not getting anything. This -- this toxic atmosphere -- let me give this example to you. I'm in a -- I'm in a workplace where I'm expected to go raise money against my friends and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle every day, and then on Monday expect them to work with me, and vice versa for my friends on the other side of the aisle, on the Republican side, doing the same.

That is not a really conducive atmosphere to work in. It's not -- when I come from West Virginia, it's not how we do business. So, we have got to get back to have this personal contact, working, putting our country first. And we can fix health care.

CAVUTO: Well, that's not happening.

MANCHIN: We have got to fix it.

CAVUTO: But that's not happening.

MANCHIN: Not -- not as much as I would like to see it, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very much.

MANCHIN: Thank you for having me.

CAVUTO: Senator Joe Manchin.

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