Barbour: 'RomneyCare' bad for states

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) on Tuesday piled on the Massachusetts healthcare program critics have dubbed "RomneyCare."

Barbour, a possible Republican candidate for president, said in congressional testimony that while it was the right of Massachusetts to have its own healthcare plan — enacted by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) — such a plan would be detrimental to most states.

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"Massachusetts has a state health insurance program that they're happy with. And that's their right," Barbour said in a hearing on healthcare reform before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"We don't want that. That's not good for us," Barbour added. "We don't want community rating. We don't want extremely high mandatory standard benefits packages."

The Mississippi governor's shot is the latest by a possible Republican presidential candidate toward "RomneyCare," the healthcare reforms that Romney, another likely candidate, had sought as governor.

Barbour also linked Romney to the liberal policies of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Democratic icon who long represented Massachusetts in the Senate.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), another possible White House contender, called the Massachusetts plan a mistake last week, though Huckabee said it shouldn't necessarily cost Romney the nomination.

President Obama gave the plan something of a kiss of death on Monday, too, when he praised it for having provided the basis for his own health reforms, a major point of contention for conservatives.

"Different states have different problems," Barbour said of his own philosophy. "We have different ideas."