MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito offered her thoughts on ongoing infrastructure deliberations, the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling, the For the People Act and other topics Thursday during her virtual meeting with members of the West Virginia press.
On Obamacare, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the 18 states – including West Virginia – that sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act lacked standing to pursue the case. This was the third Supreme Court ruling upholding the ACA.
Capito said, “The Supreme Court’s made their decision. It’s better to have certainty than not.” The ACA still has many flaws: Constituents still complain to her about lack of health care affordability and accessibility. “It hasn’t achieved that goal.”
The best path forward, she said, is to try to improve it, chipping away in bipartisan manner at such things as drug costs – the major driver of high expenses.
It’s often speculated, she said, that the true end game of Obamacare was its ultimate failure to pave the way for Medicare for All or some type of single-payer health system. Single-payer will likely be a major debate within the Democratic Party. “I don’t think that’s the best system. I don’t think that’s the best for West Virginians.”
Sen. Joe Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued statements on the ruling. Manchin said, “Today’s decision from the Supreme Court yet again affirms the legality of the Affordable Care Act ensuring millions of Americans and more than 700,000 West Virginians with preexisting conditions can keep their healthcare coverage.
“I’ve always said the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but it is past time to move forward and seek lasting solutions that ensure every West Virginian and American has access to affordable and quality healthcare. We can do this in a bipartisan way and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to make these productive changes.”
Morrisey said, “We are deeply disappointed that the court ducked the question about the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate. This case was always about: one, ensuring that individuals could not be coerced into purchasing health insurance against their will; and, two, making the insurance system far more affordable for hard-working Americans. Too many West Virginians have suffered from skyrocketing premiums and need better, more affordable health care options. We will keep fighting for affordable coverage and against coercive, individual mandates that represent the opposite of freedom.”
Regarding the For the People Act, the Democratic voting law bill, Capito said it will come to the floor next week. She reiterated her opposition to it as a federal power grab.
It overrides state voter ID laws, she said. “I’ve never had one person complain to me about that provision.” It gets rid of mobile voting for deployed soldiers and people with disabilities, allows ballot harvesting, politicizes the FEC, mandates early voting and other measures.
The West Virginia Association of Counties and 54 county clerks oppose it she said, because of such things as lack of broadband connectivity and same-day registration.
“Why don’t you let us as West Virginians make that determination of what’s best for us and what works for the clerks,” she said.
On infrastructure, Capito said she supports the efforts of a bipartisan group of senators to push a plan similar to hers – which President Biden terminated negotiations on – but with a higher price tag. She needs to see the details of the plan itself before she knows if she’ll support it.
And the plan will need the backing and technical support of the Environment and Public Works Committee, where she is ranking member, to move forward, she said.
Capito expressed her disappointment that the Government Accountability Office sided with President Biden on his decision to stop spending congressionally appropriated money on the border wall.
“We set the spending priorities here in Congress,” she said. The executive branch is supposed to follow that. The border crisis continues, with 180,000 crossing this month. “We need to have more deterrents.”
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