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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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November 14th, 2013
05:47 PM ET

Manchin on Obamacare: Problems go beyond the roll out

(CNN) - Americans may be able to keep their individual insurance plans for one more year, under a fix offered by President Barack Obama on Thursday to address a controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act.

But Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, signed on to a bill that would allow Americans to keep those plans permanently, not just one year.

"There are more problems, and we are all acknowledging and seeing them, than just the roll out," said Manchin, referring the technological glitches that plagued the federal health exchange website, HealthCare.gov.

Obama's suggested fix "is an acknowledgment that we're moving in the right direction, and need to move in the right direction. The bill I signed on with (Democratic Louisiana Senator) Mary Landrieu basically says this: If you had insurance when the bill went into effect, you can keep that insurance indefinitely. If you want to change your plans later, they have to meet the certain requirements," said Manchin.

Manchin criticized a Republican-backed House bill, which he says is "gutting" the law.

But what Manchin is proposing, allowing anybody to keep their plan in perpetuity, could also damage the architecture of Obamacare – the law needs healthy people to sign on in order to work. The bill Manchin is co-sponsoring effectively allows people to keep plans that are really cheap, but do not offer comprehensive coverage.

"The American people or person who might have the so-called junk plan, at least they made a concerted effort to get something," said Manchin. "Even though we might think the insurance industry took advantage of them. They are going to be able to have more options and shop as we go along and we get further down the road."

For more of our interview with Senator Joe Manchin, check out the video above.

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