Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is calling on Republican members of the U.S. Senate to open up their meetings about the new health care law, which is expected to be put to a vote in Congress before their July break.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved its version of a health care plan in early May. Its goal is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—former President Obama’s signature legislation.
Republican leadership in the Senate, however, has been making changes to the bill, but Manchin said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that those meetings have been happening behind closed doors without any input from Democratic — and even some Republican — members of the chamber.
Manchin said the Senate bill will likely emerge from those meetings looking very similar to the one passed in the House, which he called devastating for West Virginia.
Manchin said 50,000 West Virginians who have access to substance abuse treatment programs thanks to the expansion of Medicaid through the ACA will lose their coverage.
“The state is going to have to come up with an exorbitant amount of money in order to provides services,” Manchin said.
West Virginia’s Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has said she has concerns with the House version of the bill, but has not said whether she will support the Senate's revised plan.