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Manchin Counting on 3 or 4 Senate GOPs to Kill Healthcare Bill in 'Good Conscience'

President Trump greets Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) after addressing a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said with Republicans using the budget reconciliation process to require a simple majority to repeal Obamacare they’re counting on a handful of skeptical GOP senators to stymie the process.

Manchin told CNN last night that he’s been willing to work with GOPs on replacement legislation, but “I can’t say that anyone’s reached out, wanting to sit and talk to me.”

As released by House Republicans and scored by the Congressional Budget Office, though, the moderate Dem said the American Health Care Act is “morally wrong.”

“They’re going to have a $575 billion tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and insurance companies. That’s just not right… and on top of that, next year, they’re saying 14 million people will lose their insurance. I got a triple whammy in my state. I have a poor population. I have an elderly population, and I have a horrible addiction problem with opiates,” Manchin said.

“And with that being said, all three of those categories get just devastated over a period of time. And I just don’t think it’s right,” he added. “I’ve been saying all along, if you want to fix something, let’s sit down in a work in a constructive manner. But not mean-spirited, not hurting people, not throwing people who are the most delicate that need help, not throwing them off.”

President Trump, who met Monday with a handful of people negatively affected by Obamacare, said at a cabinet meeting that the White House is “working closely with the House and Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

“Obamacare, all of a sudden, the last couple of weeks, is getting a false rep that maybe it’s OK. It’s not OK, it’s a disaster and people understand that it’s failed and it’s imploding,” Trump said. “And if we let it go for another year, it’ll totally implode. In fact, I’ve told the Republicans, why don’t you just let it go for another year, that way everybody will really understand how bad it is. But it would be the wrong thing for us to do, and for the American people.”

“The House plan will expand choice, lower cost, and ensure healthcare access for all. We’re negotiating with everybody,” he added. “It’s a big, fat, beautiful negotiation. And hopefully we’ll come up with something that’s gonna be really terrific.”

Manchin said he believes many people are “not aware, not at all” of the benefits they’ve received under Obamacare.

The senator said he told Trump “there’s no way I can vote to repeal.”

“My Republican friends, my colleagues are going down the wrong path by having nobody buying in and trying to fix it,” he said. “So, if you want to just repeal, I can tell you this, Mr. President — the people in West Virginia who basically benefited by the expansion by the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, whatever you want to call it, the people that benefited the most, they don’t know how they got it. They have no idea how they received this additional health care and some — basically, some help in their life, if you will. They don’t know that.”

“…The seniors, the elderly that were getting basically on the average of $6,000 or $7,000, to cut that down and put a cap for of $4,500, they’re not going to be able to pay. So, you know what they’re going to do is go back to the old ways. You know what the old ways were? Go to the emergency room.”

Manchin confirmed he doesn’t “think they’ll get any Democratic help on this, the way this bill is coming at us.”

“So, with that being said, if there’s three or four of my Republican colleagues say, ‘Wait a minute, hold up, I can’t in good conscience go home and look at the people that got thrown off, I can’t go home and tell them, we had to give tax cuts for the wealthiest people and insurance companies’ — I’m hoping there’s three or four of them,” he said.