Barbour, Other Republicans Attack Medicaid Requirements, 'RomneyCare'

Three governors testified before the Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee today, as the GOP released a report on Medicaid costs.

CBS News: Haley Barbour Slams "RomneyCare" At Health Care Hearing 
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour hit Mitt Romney's so-called "RomneyCare" health care plan on Tuesday, arguing that the legislation -- which Romney enacted while serving as the governor of Massachusetts -- might work for some states, but it wouldn't work for his. "Massachusetts has a state health insurance program that they're happy with," said Barbour, a Republican, at a hearing on health care reform before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday. "And that's their right." Barbour continued, "We don't want that. That's not good for us. ... We don't want community rating. We don't want extremely high mandatory standard benefits packages" (Madison, 3/1). 

Politico: Barbour Vs. Romneycare
One footnote: Mississippi gets 85% of its Medicaid spending from the federal government; Massachusetts gets 62%. (Hunt, 3/1).

The Hill: Barbour: 'RomneyCare' Bad For States
The Mississippi governor's shot is the latest by a possible Republican presidential candidate toward "RomneyCare." ... 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 (O'Brien, 3/1).

The Associated Press/Boston Herald: Gov. Patrick Praises Mass. Health Law Before Congress 
(Massachusetts Gov. Deval) Patrick told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday that while health insurance is universally accessible in Massachusetts, it is not yet universally affordable. Patrick detailed efforts he and others are undertaking to try to curb spending by instituting a system that rewards doctors and hospitals for improving patient care while limiting expensive but often unnecessary tests (3/1).

Modern Healthcare: Need for Medicaid Flexibility Stressed
Allowing states more flexibility in managing their Medicaid programs is needed to avoid future costs that will dwarf current budget struggles, according to Republican governors and members of Congress. Those concerns stemmed from new estimates that the future costs of Medicaid requirements in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will double beyond previous estimates. Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee estimated Tuesday that the Medicaid expansion, which is mostly funded by the federal government, still would cost states $118 billion in the first 10 years (Daly, 3/1).

Bloomberg: Health Overhaul May Raise States' Costs by $118 Billion, Republicans Say
Representative Henry Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on (the) committee, said states have "considerable flexibility in the management and design" of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor. He called Republican proposals to scale back the program "radical changes that will add to the number of uninsured" (Wayne, 3/1).

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