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A Democratic senator said Wednesday that he will not attend President Barack Obama’s meeting with Democrats about defending his signature health care law.
“In good conscience, I can’t do it,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday on MNSBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Obama will meet with congressional Democrats Wednesday about how to prevent Republicans from repealing the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that he will seek a “full repeal” of the legislation.
Manchin explained his decision by arguing that “If anyone listened and paid attention to what the American people said when they voted, they want this place to work.”
“Can you imagine in here — with all the respect of all these people involved — we have the outgoing president coming up here today to talk to only Democrats, only Democrats,” Manchin said. “We have the incoming vice president coming up to talk only to Republicans.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence held his own meeting with congressional Republicans Wednesday to strategize how to repeal Obamacare.
Manchin said that such meetings are not what “makes this place work.”
“And that’s really what’s wrong with the place,” he added. “I just think it’s absolutely wrong.”
Manchin said that because of Obamacare, “or whatever you want to call it,” 172,000 people in West Virginia “have healthcare for the first time.”
“It’s not perfect,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of repairing to do. But to say you’re going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, repeal the whole thing — here we have the incoming vice president, who had Medicaid expansion in Indiana, now saying they want to repeal the whole thing.”
“I’m willing to look at replacing, repairing, doing anything that we can to make it better. But put something on the table,” he continued. “I just can’t believe the Republicans would go down this path and just throw it out and say, ‘Trust us, in two or three years, we’ll fix it.’”
Manchin said that in his six years in the Senate “we haven’t fixed very many things.”
“And anyone who has trust or belief that we will fix it, they’re living in fantasy land,” he added.