Thursday, December 23rd 2021

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Reactions keep pouring in to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's opposition to the Build Back Better Plan, a multitrillion-dollar social spending package.

In a virtual news conference and presentation Thursday, health care advocate group Protect Our Care invited guests to plead the importance of Build Back Better. They invited West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Executive Director Jessica Ice, child tax credit advocate and mother Stormy Johnson and Type 1 diabetic and patient advocate Mindy Salango.

Ice said passing Build Back Better would benefit the Mountain State.

"Whether it's care for the elderly with home health care. Whether it's Medicare negotiating prescription drug costs. Whether it's expanding Medicaid in a federal way to get more people involved. There are so many provisions that would help West Virginians," Ice said.

Those voicing their concerns in the forum explained how the bill benefits their lives, potentially lowering the cost of insulin and other prescriptions, and maintaining child tax credit.

Lynette Maselli with Protect Our Care WV said stalling the bill hurts families this holiday season.

"Now working families in West Virginia are figuring out how they will be able to cover essentials, like utilities, groceries, school supplies, health care checkups and other daily items they were able to afford over the last six months, because of the enhanced child tax credit," Maselli said.

U.S. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., agrees with Manchin's comments in rejecting the current bill.

"A lot of these objections he voiced are the same ones I have,” Capito said. “Too much spending. $5 trillion in reality, $3 trillion on debt. Creating programs that are long wish lists of more of liberal interests, that we need to work on together, rather than just one party," Capito said.

Now it's on to 2022, and advocates for the bill are holding out hope that it will pass.

"I do everything I can,” Salango said. “I feel like we are using our voices and we are using all the avenues available to us. We've got to keep doing it, and he's got to take the time to hear us."

The Build Back Better Act passed through the House in November, but the Senate will not vote on the bill until it returns to Washington in January.

Cindy Harless


West Virginians for Affordable Health Care is a non-profit advocacy organization bringing a consumer voice to public policy.