CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Joe Manchin said he supports raising the minimum wage, but hesitated to endorse any specific legislation until he has a chance to evaluate it.
"If you took the minimum wage in 1968, I think it was in the $1.60, $1.70 range in 1968," Manchin said Thursday, "and it was automatically adjusted for inflation, today's minimum wage would be over $10."
Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the Senate will vote on legislation to raise the minimum wage before 2014, although minimum wage legislation is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled House.
Manchin spoke on a variety of topics -- the financial crisis, immigration, health care, education -- to students and professors at a town hall style-event at West Virginia State University on Thursday.
Manchin said that his concern with the Affordable Care Act is that people will not use the preventive care that has been made available to them and will instead wait until medical issues worsen and become more expensive.
"If a person doesn't use that health-care card and go to their screenings, their annual checkups," Manchin said, "if they're not going to utilize that, the system will fall on its own weight."
He said he'd like to see some sort of market-incentive system to make get people to be healthier.
"You'd better make sure there's personal responsibility and accountability to make people well or keep them well," he said. "If they fall into a sick category, the system will collapse and we ain't got nothing, that's what scares me."