Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday to address a group of House Republicans interested in health-care policy.
The Washington visit by Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican Governors Association, happened to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the Massachusetts health-care reform law — a measure signed into law by another potential White House contender in 2012, then-Gov. Mitt Romney.
In a nearly hour-long session with the Congressional Health Care Caucus, Barbour declined to directly criticize Romney. He did say: “If Massachusetts wants [health-care reform], more power to them; that’s their business. We don’t want it.”
The Mississippi governor added: “It would not be a good system for us, and we would not choose it in Mississippi, and frankly, we oppose the Obama administration trying to force it on us.”
Barbour also advocated for giving states greater flexibility on Medicaid and criticized the national health-care law, charging that it will vastly increase the number of Mississippians on Medicaid.
Barbour’s visit to the group follows one last month by former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who is also inching toward a White House bid.
Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.), a doctor who chairs the Congressional Health Care Caucus, said Tuesday that the group has also extended invitations to other potential 2012 Republican candidates, including Romney, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels (R) addressed the group last summer.