Manchin, Capito against U.S. Senate health care plan
By Alex Thomas, WV MetroNews
WASHINGTON — As West Virginia’s Democratic senator continued opposing the health care bill being pushed by some of his colleagues, the state’s Republican senator came out Tuesday against the legislation.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he is still against repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law, while Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she could not vote for the bill.
The Senate proposal would begin phasing out Medicaid expansion in 2021, with deeper cuts compared to the bill passed by the House of Representatives in May.
More than 172,000 West Virginians have health care coverage through Medicaid expansion, according to the West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources.
Under the Senate plan, older individuals could pay up to five times as much for coverage compared to younger people, and companies would not be required to pay for medical coverage for “essential health benefits” like maternity care. States would also have access to $2 billion worth of grants for opioid addiction treatment.
Manchin participated in a press conference Tuesday morning with seven Democratic senators to highlight the bill’s impact on the opioid epidemic.
One of the people who spoke at that press conference was a woman named Shelby from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. She talked about she was able to receive drug addiction treatment because of Medicaid.
“Without Medicaid, I would be dead,” she said through tears. “A year ago on Memorial Day, I decided I didn’t want to live the life I was living through using opioids. It was a dark hole, and I didn’t know any other way to get out of it.”
Shelby said her mother was able to help her enter a treatment program after three years of drug misuse.
“To think that there was an out,” she said. “It was like someone handing their hand out to me and pulling me out of the hole.”